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Full text of "The works of George Meredith"

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THE WORKS OF 
GEORGE MEREDITH 



MEMORIAL EDITION 

VOLUME 

XXIV 



GEORGE MEREDITH 



POEMS 



VOL. I 




NEW YORK 

CHARLES SGRIBNER'S SONS 

1910 



U'HIVl Uf^l'l Y 
I lu'llAKY 



A 8o<343 

OOPTRIGHT, 1910, BY 

CHARLES SCRIBNBR'S SONS 




,1,1 iKfUii:) 

Y'l K:5;:iVIM|J 

VHAJi; I.! 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHILLIANWALLAH, 1 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah I 

THE doe: a fragment, 3 

And — 'Yonder look 1 yohol yohol 

BEAUTY ROHTEADT, 9 

What is the name of King Rmgang's daughter? 

THE OLIVE BRANCH, 11 

A dove flew with an Olive Branch ; 

SONG, 16-1 

Love within the lover's breast 

THE WILD ROSE AND THE SNOWDROP, . . . .17 

The Snowdrop is the prophet of the flowers ; 

THE DEATH OF WINTER, ...... 19 

When April with her wild blue eye 

SONG, 21 

The moon is alone in the sky 

JOHN LACKLAND, 21 ' 

A wicked man is bad enough on earth ; 

THE SLEEPING CITY, 22 

A princess in the eastern tale 

THE POETRY OF CHAUCER, 27 

Grey with all honours of age I but fresh-featured and ruddy 

THE POETRY OF SPENSER, 27 

Lakes where the sunsheen is mystic with splendour and 
softness ; 



vi (p<,„,o POEMS 

PAGE 

THE POETRY OP SHAKESPEARE, 28 

Picture some Isle smiling green 'mid the white-foaming 
ocean ; — 



THE POETRY OP MILTON, 

Like to some deep-chested organ whose grand inspiration, 



28 



THE POETRY OP SOUTHEY, 29 

Keen as an eagle whose flight towards the dim empyrfon 

THE POETRY OP COLERIDGE, 29 

A brook glancing under green leaves, self-delighting, 
exulting, 

THE POETRY OP SHELLEY, 30 

See'st thou a Skylark whose glistening winglets ascending 

THE POETRY OP WORDSWORTH, 30 

A breath of the mountains, fresh born in the regions 
majestic, 

THE POETRY OF KEATS, 31 

The song of a nightingale sent thro' a slumbrous valley, 

VIOLETS, 31 

Violets, shy violets ! 

ANGELIC LOVE, 32 

Angelic love that stoops with heavenly lips 

TWILIGHT MUSIC, 34 

Know you the low pervading breeze 

REQUIEM, 36 

Where faces are hueless, where eyelids are dewless, 

THE FLOWER OF THE RUINS, 37 

Take thy lute and sing 

THE RAPE OP AURORA, 40 

Never, O never, 

SOUTH-WEST WIND IN THE WOODLAND, .... 42 

The silence of preluded song — 



CONTENTS vii 

PAGE 

WILL O' THE WISP, 46 

Follow me, follow me, 

SONG, 49 

Fair and false I No dawn will greet 

SONG, 50 

Two wedded lovers watched the rising moon, 

SONG, 51 

I cannot lose thee for a day, 

DAPHNE, 52 

Musing on the fate of Daphne, 

LONDON BY LAMPLIGHT, 68 

There stands a singer in the street, 

SONG, 73 

Under boughs of breathing May, 

PASTORALS, 74 

How sweet on sunny afternoons, 

TO A SKYLAEK, 84 

O Skylark I I see thee and call thee joy I 

SONG — SPEING, 85 

When buds of palm do burst and spread 

SONG — ^AUTUMN, 85 

When nuts behind the hazel-leaf 

SORROWS AND JOTS, 86 

Bury thy sorrows, and they shall rise 

SONG, 88 

The Flower unfolds its dawning cup, 

SONG, 89 

Thou to me art such a spring 

ANTIGONE, 90 

The buried voice bespake Antigone. 



viii POEMS 

PAGE 

'swathed round in mist and ceown'd with cloud,' 92 

SONG, 93 

No, no, the falling blossom is no sign 

THE TWO BLACKBIRDS, 94 

A Blackbird in a wicker cage, 

JULY, 96 

Blue July, bright July, 

SONG, 98 

I would I were the drop of rain 

SONG, 99 

Come to me in any shape I 

THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS, 100 

Swept from his fleet upon that fatal night 

THE LONGEST DAY, 112 

On yonder hills soft twilight dwells 

TO ROBIN REDBREAST, 114 

Merrily 'mid the faded leaves, 

SONG, 115 

The daisy now is out upon the green ; 

SUNRISE, 117 

The clouds are withdrawn 

PICTURES OF THE RHINE, 120 

The spirit of Romance dies not to those 

TO A NIGHTINGALE, 123 

O Nightingale ! how hast thou learnt 

INVITATION TO THE COUNTRY, • 124 

Now 'tis Spring on wood and wold, — - ^ 

THE SWEET o' THE YEAR, 126 '^^ 

Now the frog, all lean and weak, 



CONTENTS ix 

AUTUMN EVEN-SONGf, 128 

The long cloud edged with streaming grey 

THE SONG OF COURTESY, 129 

When Sir Gawain was led to his bridal-bed, 

THE THBEE MAIDENS, 131 

There were three maidens met on the highway ; 

OVER THE HILLS, 132 

The old hound wags his shaggy taU, 

JUGGLING JERRY, 134 '' "^ 

Pitch here the tent, while the old horse grazes : 

THE CROWN OF LOVE, 139 

O might I load my arms with thee, 

THE HEAD OF BRAN THE BLEST, 141 

When the Head of Bran 

THE MEETING, 145 

The old coach-road through a common of furze, 

THE beggar's SOLILOQUY, 146 

Now, this, to my notion,- is pleasant cheer, 

BY THE ROSANNA, 151 

The old grey Alp has caught the cloud, 

PHANTASY, 152 

Within a Temple of the Toes, 

THE OLD CHARTIST, 158 

Whate'er I be, old England is my dam I 

SONG, 163 

Should thy love die, 

TO ALEX. SMITH, THE 'GLASGOW POET,' .... 164 
Not vainly doth the earnest voice of man 

GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN, 165 

'Heigh, boys!' cried Grandfather Bridgeman, 'it 's time 
before dinner to-day.' 



X POEMS 

PAGE 

THE PROMISE IN DISTUEBANCE, 180 

How low when angels fall their black descent, 

MODERN LOVE, 181 

I. By this he knew she wept with waking eyes : 
II. It ended, and the morrow brought the task. 

III. This was the woman ; what now of the man ? 

IV. All other joys of life he strove to warm, 
V. A message from her set his brain aflame. 

VI. It chanced his lips did meet her forehead cool, 

vii. She issues radiant from her dressing-room, 

VIII. Yet it was plain she struggled, and that salt 

IX. He felt the wild beast in him betweenwhiles 

X. But where began the change ; and what's my crime 7 

XI. Out in the yellow meadows, where the bee 

XII. Not solely that the Future she destroys, 

XIII. ' I play for Seasons ; not Eternities 1 ' 

XIV. What soul would bargain for a cure that brings 
XV. I think she sleeps : it must be sleep, when low 

XVI. In our old shipwrecked days there was an hour, 

XVII. At dinner, she is hostess, I am host. 

XVIII. Here Jack and Tom are paired with Moll and Meg. 

XIX. No state is enviable. To the luck alone 

XX. I am not of those miserable males 

XXI. We three are on the cedar-shadowed lawn ; 

XXII. What may the woman labour to confess 7 

XXIII. 'Tis Christmas weather, and a country house 

XXIV. The misery is greater, as I live ! 

XXV. You like not that French novel 7 Tell me why. 

XXVI. Love ere he bleeds, an eagle in high skies, 

XXVII. Distraction is the panacea, Sir I 
XXVIII. I must be flattered. The imperious 

XXIX. Am I failing? For no longer can I cast 
XXX. What are we first 7 First, animals ; and next 

XXXI. This golden head has wit in it. I live 

XXXII. Full faith I have she holds that rarest gift 
XXXIII. ' In Paris, at the Louvre, there have I seen 
xxxiv. Madam would speak with me. So, now it comes : 



CONTENTS xi 

PAGE 

XXXV. It is no vulgar nature I have wived. 
XXXVI. My Lady unto Madam makes her bow. 
ixxvii. Along the garden terrace, under which 
XXXVIII. Give to imagination some pure light 
XXXIX. She yields : my Lady in her noblest mood 
XL. I bade my Lady think what she might mean 
XLi. How many a thing which we cast to the ground, 
XLii. I am to follow her. There is much grace 
XLiii. Mark where the pressing wind shoots javelin-like 
XLiv. They say, that Pity in Love's service dwells, 
XLV. It is the season of the sweet wild rose, 
XL VI. At last we parley : we so strangely dumb 
XLVii. We saw the swallows gathering in the sky, 
XLvm. Their sense is with their senses all mixed in, 
XLix. He found her by the ocean's moaning verge, 
L. Thus piteously Love closed what he begat: 

THE PATRIOT ENGINEEE, 231 

' Sirs 1 may I shake your hands ? 

CASSANDRA, 236 

Captive on a foreign shore, 

THE YOUNG USURPER, 240 

On my darling's bosom 

Margaret's bridal eve, 241 

The old grey mother she thrummed on her knee: 

MARIAN, 248 

She can be as wise as we, 

BY MORNING TWILIGHT, 249 

Night, like a dying mother, 

UNKNOWN FAIR PACES, 249 

Though I am faithful to my loves lived through, 

SHEMSELNIHAR, 250 

O my lover ! the night like a broad smooth wave 

A ROAE THROUGH THE TALL TWIN ELM-TREES, . . 252 

A roar thro' the tall twin elm-trees 



xii . POEMS 

PAGB 

WHEN I WOULD IMAGE, 252 

When I would image her features, 

THE SPIRIT OP SHAKESPEAEE, 253 

Thy greatest knew thee, Mother Earth ; unsoured 

CONTINUED, 253 

How smiles he at a generation ranked 

ODE TO THE SPIRIT OF EARTH IN AUTUMN, . . . 254 

Fair Mother Earth lay on her back last night, 

martin's puzzle, 261 

There she goes up the street with her book in her hand, 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



'the old chartist' .... Frontispiece 

From the drauring by Frederick Sandys which accom- 
panied the first issue of the poem in Once a Week. 

'the head op bean' . . . Facing page 14:2 

Facsimile reproduction of an early draft of the poem in 
one of the Author's note-books. 

|the meeting' ....." 146 

From the drauring by Sir J. E. Millais which accom- 
panied the first isstie of the poem in Once a Week. 



POEMS 

VOL. I 



POEMS 



CHILLIANWALLAH» 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah ! 

Where our brothers fought and bled, 
O thy name is natural music 

And a dirge above the dead ! 
Though we have not been defeated, 

Though we can't be overcome, 
Still, whene'er thou art repeated, 

I would fain that grief were dumb. 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah ! 

'Tis a name so sad and strange, 
Like a breeze through midnight harpstrings 

Ringing many a mournful change ; 
But the wildness and the sorrow 

Have a meaning of their own — 
Oh, whereof no glad to-morrow 

Can relieve the dismal tone ! 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah ! 

'Tis a village dark and low, 
By the bloody Jhelum river 

Bridged by the foreboding foe ; 

' First contributed to a MS. magazine, ' The Monthly Observer, ' in the 
year 1849; first printed in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal, July 7, 1849. 



POEMS 

And across the wintry water 

He is ready to retreat, 
When the carnage and the slaughter 

Shall have paid for his defeat. 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah ! 

'Tis a wild and dreary plain, 
Strewn with plots of thickest jungle, 

Matted with the gory stain. 
There the murder-mouthed artillery, 

In the deadly ambuscade, 
Wrought the thunder of its treachery 

On the skeleton brigade. 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah ! 

When the night set in with rain, 
Came the savage plundering devils 

To their work among the slain ; 
And the wounded and the dying 

In cold blood did share the doom 
Of their comrades round them lying, 

Stiff in the dead skyless gloom. 

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah ! 

Thou wilt be a doleful chord, 
And a mystic note of mourning 

That will need no chiming word ; 
And that heart will leap with anguish 

Who may understand thee best ; 
But the hopes of all will languish 

Till thy memory is at rest. 



THE DOE : A FRAGMENT 



THE DOE : A FRAGMENT 

(FROM ' WANDERING WILLIE ') 

And — ' Yonder look ! yoho ! yoho ! 
Nancy is off !' the fanner cried, 
Advancing by the river side, 
Red-kerchieft and brown-coated ; — ' So, 
My girl, who else could leap like that ? 
So neatly ! like a lady ! 'Zounds ! 
Look at her how she leads the hounds !' 
And waving his dusty beaver hat. 
He cheered across the chase-filled water, 
And clapt his arm about his daughter, 
And gave to Joan a courteous hug. 
And kiss that, like a stubborn plug 
From generous vats in vastness rounded, 
The inner wealth and spirit sounded : 
Eagerly pointing South, where, lo, 
The daintiest, fleetest-footed doe 
Led o'er the fields and thro' the furze 
Beyond : her lively delicate ears 
Prickt up erect, and in her track 
A dappled lengthy-striding pack. 

Scarce had they cast eyes upon her. 
When every heart was wagered on her. 
And half in dread, and half delight, 
They watched her lovely bounding flight ; 
As now across the flashing green, 



POEMS 

And now beneath the stately trees, 

And now far distant in the dene, 

She headed on with graceful ease : 

Hanging aloft with double knees, 

At times athwart some hedge or gate ; 

And slackening pace by slow degrees, 

As for the foremost foe to wait. 

Renewing her outstripping rate 

Whene'er the hot pursuers neared, 

By garden wall and paled estate, 

Where clambering gazers whooped and cheered. 

Here winding under elm and oak, 

And slanting up the sunny hill : 

Splashing the water here like smoke 

Among the mill-holms round the mill. 

And — ' Let her go ; she shows her game, 
My Nancy girl, my pet and treasure !' 
The farmer sighed : his eyes with pleasure 
Brimming : ' 'Tis my daughter's name. 
My second daughter lying yonder.' 
And Willie's eye in search did wander, 
And caught at once, with moist regard, 
The white gleams of a grey churchyard. 
'Three weeks before my girl had gone. 
And while upon her pillows propped. 
She lay at eve ; the weakling fawn — 
For still it seems a fawn just dropt 
A se'nnight — to my Nancy's bed 
I brought to make my girl a gift : 
The mothers of them both were dead : 
And both to bless it was my drift, 
By giving each a friend ; not thinking 
How rapidly my girl was sinking. 
And I remember how, to pat 



THE DOE : A FRAGMENT 

Its neck, she stretched her hand so weak, 

And its cold nose against her cheek 

Pressed fondly : and I fetched the mat 

To make it up a couch just by her, 

Where in the lone dark hours to lie : 

For neither dear old nurse nor I 

Would any single wish deny her. 

And there unto the last it lay ; 

And in the pastures cared to play 

Little or nothing : there its meals 

And milk I brought : and even now 

The creature such affection feels 

For that old room that, when and how, 

'Tis strange to mark, it slinks and steals 

To get there, and all day conceals. 

And once when nurse who, since that time, 

Keeps house for me, was very sick, 

Waking upon the midnight chime, 

And listening to the stair-clock's click, 

I heard a rustling, half uncertain, 

Close against the dark bed-curtain : 

And while I thrust my leg to kick. 

And feel the phantom with my feet, 

A loving tongue began to lick 

My left hand lying on the sheet ; 

And warm sweet breath upon me blew. 

And that 'twas Nancy then I knew. 

So, for her love, I had good cause 

To have the creature "Nancy" christened.' 

He paused, and in the moment's pause, 
His eyes and Willie's strangely glistened. 
Nearer came Joan, and Bessy hung 
With face averted, near enough 
To hear, and sob unheard ; the young 



POEMS 

And careless ones had scampered off 
Meantime, and sought the loftiest place 
To beacon the approaching chase. 

' Daily upon the meads to browse, 

Goes Nancy with those dairy cows 

You see behind the clematis : 

And such a favourite she is. 

That when fatigued, and helter skelter. 

Among them from her foes to shelter. 

She dashes when the chase is over. 

They '11 close her in and give her cover, 

And bend their horns against the hounds, 

And low, and keep them out of bounds ! 

From the house dogs she dreads no harm. 

And is good friends with all the farm, 

Man, and bird, and beast, howbeit 

Their natures seem so opposite. 

And she is known for many a mile. 

And noted for her splendid style. 

For her clear leap and quick slight hoof ; 

Welcome she is in many a roof. 

And if I say, I love her, man ! 

I say but little : her fine eyes full 

Of memories of my girl, at Yule 

And May-time, make her dearer than 

Dumb brute to men has been, I think. 

So dear I do not find her dumb. 

I know her ways, her shghtest wink. 

So well ; and to my hand she '11 come, 

Sidelong, for food or a caress. 

Just like a loving human thing. 

Nor can I help, I do confess. 

Some touch of human sorrowing 

To think there may be such a doubt 



THE DOE : A FRAGMENT 

That from the next world she '11 be shut out, 

And parted from me ! _ And well I mind 

How, when my girl's last moments came. 

Her soft eyes very soft and kind, 

She joined her hands and prayed the same, 

That she "might meet her father, mother, 

Sister Bess, and each dear brother, 

And with them, if it might be, one 

Who was her last companion." 

Meaning the fawn — the doe you mark — 

For my bay mare was then a foal, 

And time has passed since then : — but hark !' 

For like the shrieking of a soul 

Shut in a tomb, a darkened cry 

Of inward-wailing agony 

Surprised them, and all eyes on each 

Fixed in the mute-appealing speech 

Of self-reproachful apprehension : 

Knowing not what to think or do : 

But Joan, recovering first, broke through 

The instantaneous suspension. 

And knelt upon the ground, and guessed 

The bitterness at a glance, and pressed 

Into the comfort of her breast 

The deep-throed quaking shape that drooped 

In misery's wilful aggravation, 

Before the farmer as he stooped, 

Touched with accusing consternation : 

Soothing her as she sobbed aloud : — 

' Not me ! not me ! Oh, no, no, no ! 

Not me ! God will not take me in ! 

Nothing can wipe away my sin! 

I shall not see her : you will go ; 

You and all that she loves so : 



POEMS 

Not me ! not me ! Oh, no, no, no !' 

Colourless, her long black hair. 

Like seaweed in a tempest tossed 

Tangling astray, to Joan's care 

She yielded like a creature lost : 

Yielded, drooping toward the ground, 

As doth a shape one half-hour drowned. 

And heaved from sea with mast and spar. 

All dark of its immortal star. 

And on that tender heart, inured 

To flatter basest grief, and fight 

Despair upon the brink of night, 

She suffered herself to sink, assured 

Of refuge ; and her ear inclined 

To comfort ; and her thoughts resigned 

To counsel ; her wild hair let brush 

From off her weeping brows ; and shook 

With many little sobs that took 

Deeper-drawn breaths, till into sighs, 

Long sighs, they sank; and to the 'hush !' 

Of Joan's gentle chide, she sought 

Childlike to check them as she ought, 

Looking up at her infantwise. 

And Willie, gazing on them both. 

Shivered with bliss through blood and brain, 

To see the darling of his troth 

Like a maternal angel strain 

The sinful and the sinless child 

At once on either breast, and there 

In peace and promise reconciled 

Unite them : nor could Nature's care 

With subtler sweet beneficence 

Have fed the springs of penitence, 

Still keeping true, though harshly tried. 

The vital prop of human pride. 



BEAUTY EOHTRAUT 



BEAUTY ROHTRAUT 

{FROM MOBICKE) 

What is the name of King Ringang's daughter? 

Rohtraut, Beauty Rohtraut ! 
And what does she do the livelong day, 
Since she dare not knit and spin alway ? 

hunting and fishing is ever her play ! 

And, heigh ! that her huntsman I might be ! 
I 'd hunt and fish right merrily ! 
Be silent, heart ! 

And it chanced that, after this some time, — 

Rohtraut, Beauty Rohtraut, — 
The boy in the Castle has gained access. 
And a horse he has got and a huntsman's dress, 
To hunt and to fish with the merry Princess ; 
And, O ! that a king's son I might be ! 
Beauty Rohtraut I love so tenderly. 
Hush ! hush ! my heart. 

Under a grey old oak they sat. 
Beauty, Beauty Rohtraut ! 
She laughs : 'Why look you so slyly at me? 
If you have heart enough, come, kiss me.' 
Cried the breathless boy, 'kiss thee?' 
But he thinks, kind fortune has favoured my youth ; 
And thrice he has kissed Beauty Rohtraut's mouth. 
Down ! down ! mad heart. 



10 POEMS 

Then slowly and silently they rode home, — 

Rohtraut, Beauty Rohtraut ! 
The boy was lost in his delight : 
'And, wert thou Empress this very night, 
I woxild not heed or feel the blight ; 
Ye thousand leaves of the wild wood wist 
How Beauty Rohtraut's mouth I kiss'd. 
Hush ! hush ! wild heart.' 



THE OLIVE BRANCH 11 



THE OLIVE BRANCH 

A DOVE flew with an Olive Branch ; 
It crossed the sea and reached the shore, 
And on a ship about to launch 
Dropped down the happy sign it bore. 

'An omen' rang the glad acclaim ! 
The Captain stooped and picked it up, 
'Be then the Olive Branch her name,' 
Cried she who flung the christening cup. 

The vessel took the laughing tides ; 
It was a joyous revelry 
To see her dashing from her sides 
The rough, salt kisses of the sea. 

And forth into the bursting foam 
She spread her sail and sped away. 
The rolling surge her restless home. 
Her incense wreaths the showering spray. 

Far out, and where the riot waves 
Hun mingling in tumultuous throngs, 
She danced above a thousand graves, 
And heard a thousand briny songs. 

Her mission with her manly crew, 
Her flag unfurl'd, her title told, 
She took the Old World to the New, 
And brought the New World to the Old. 



12 POEMS 

Secure of friendliest welcomings, 
She swam the havens sheening fair ; 
Secure upon her glad white wings, 
She fluttered on the ocean air. 



To her no more the bastioned fort 
Shot out its swarthy tongue of fire ; 
From bay to bay, from port to port, 
Her coming was the world's desire. 

And tho' the tempest lashed her oft, 
And tho' the rocks had hungry teeth. 
And lightnings split the masts aloft, 
And thunders shook the planks beneath. 

And tho' the storm, self-willed and blind. 
Made tatters of her dauntless sail, 
And all the wildness of the wind 
Was loosed on her, she did not fail ; 

But gallantly she ploughed the main. 
And gloriously her welcome pealed. 
And grandly shone to sky and plain 
The goodly bales her decks revealed ; 

Brought from the fruitful eastern glebes 
Where blow the gusts of baFm and spice. 
Or where the black blockaded ribs 
Are jammed 'mongst ghostly fleets of ice. 

Or where upon the curling hills 
Glow clusters of the bright-eyed grape. 
Or where the hand of labour drills 
The stubbornness of earth to shape ; 



THE OLIVE BRANCH 13 

Rich harvestings and wealthy germs, 
And handicrafts and shapely wares, 
And spinnings of the hermit worms. 
And fruits that bloom by lions' lairs. 

Come, read the meaning of the deep ! 
The use of winds and waters learn ! 
'Tis not to make the mother weep 
For sons that never will return ; 

'Tis not to make the nations show 
Contempt for all whom seas divide ; 
'Tis not to pamper war and woe. 
Nor feed traditionary pride ; 

'Tis not to make the floating bulk 
Mask death upon its slippery deck, 
Itself in turn a shattered hulk, 
A ghastly raft, a bleeding wreck. 

It is to knit with loving lip 
The interests of land to land ; 
To join in far-seen fellowship 
The tropic and the polar strand. 

It is to make that foaming Strength 
Whose rebel forces wrestle still 
Thro' all his boundaried breadth and length 
Become a vassal to our will. 

It is to make the various skies. 
And all the various fruits they vaunt. 
And all the dowers of earth we prize. 
Subservient to our household want. 



14 POEMS 

And more, for knowledge crowns the gain 
Of intercourse with other souls, 
And Wisdom travels not in vain 
The plunging spaces of the poles. 

The wild Atlantic's weltering gloom, 
Earth-clasping seas of North and South, 
The Baltic with its amber spume. 
The Caspian with its frozen mouth ; 

The broad Pacific, basking bright, 
And girdling lands of lustrous growth, 
Vast continents and isles of light. 
Dumb tracts of undiscovered sloth ; 

She visits these, traversing each ; 
They ripen to the common sun ; 
Thro' diverse forms and different speech, 
The world's humanity is one. 

O may her voice have power to say 
How soon the wrecking discords cease. 
When every wandering wave is gay 
With golden argosies of peace ! 

Now when the ark of human fate. 
Long baffled by the wayward wind, 
Is drifting with its peopled freight. 
Safe haven on the heights to find ; 

Safe haven from the drowning slime 
Of evil deeds and Deluge wrath ; — 
To plant again the foot of Time 
Upon a purer, firmer path ; 



THE OLIVE BRANCH 15 

'Tis now the hour to probe the ground, 
To watch the Heavens, to speak the word, 
The fathoms of the deep to sound, 
And send abroad the missioned bird. 

On strengthened wing for evermore. 
Let Science, swiftly as she can, 
Fly seaward on from shore to shore, 
And bind the links of man to man ; 

And like that fair propitious Dove 
Bless future fleets about to launch ; 
Make every freight a freight of love, 
And every ship an Olive Branch. 



16 POEMS 



SONG 

Love within the lover's breast 
Burns like Hesper in the west, 
O'er the ashes of the sun, 
Till the day and night are done ; 
Then when dawn drives up her car — 
Lo ! it is the morning star. 

Love ! thy love pours down on mine 

As the sunlight on the vine, 

As the snow-rill on the vale, 

As the salt breeze in the sail ; 

As the song unto the bird. 

On my lips thy name is heard. 

As a dewdrop on the rose 
In thy heart my passion glows, 
As a skylark to the sky 
Up into thy breast I fly ; 
As a sea-shell of the sea 
Ever shall I sing of thee. 



THE WILD ROSE AND THE SNOWDROP 17 



THE WILD ROSE AND THE SNOWDROP 

The Snowdrop is the prophet of the flowers ; 

It lives and dies upon its bed of snows ; 

And like a thought of spring it comes and goes, 

Hanging its head beside our leafless bowers. 

The sun's betrothing kiss it never knows, 

Nor all the glowing joy of golden showers; 

But ever in a placid, pure repose. 

More like a spirit with its look serene. 

Droops its pale cheek veined thro' with infant green. 

Queen of her sisters is the sweet Wild Rose, 
Sprung from the earnest sun and ripe young June ; 
The year's own darling and the Summer's Queen ! 
Lustrous as the new-throned crescent moon. 
Much of that early prophet look she shows, 
Mixed with her fair espoused blush which glows, 
As if the ethereal fairy blood were seen ; 
Like a soft evening over sunset snows. 
Half twilight violet shade, half crimson sheen. 

Twin-born are both in beauteousness, most fair 
In all that glads the eye and charms the air ; 
In all that wakes emotions in the mind 
And sows sweet sympathies for human kind. 
Twin-born, albeit their seasons are apart, 
They bloom together in the thoughtful heart ; 
Fair symbols of the marvels of our state, 
Mute speakers of the oracles of fate ! 



18 POEMS 

For each, fulfilling nature's law, fulfils 

Itself and its own aspirations pure ; 

Living and dying ; letting faith ensure 

New life when deathless Spring shall touch the hills. 

Each perfect in its place ; and each content 

With that perfection which its being meant : 

Divided not by months that intervene, 

But linked by all the flowers that bud between. 

Forever smiling thro' its season brief, 

The one in glory and the one in grief : 

Forever painting to our museful sight, 

How lowlihead and loveliness unite. 

Born from the first blind yearning of the earth 
To be a mother and give happy birth. 
Ere yet the northern sun such rapture brings, 
Lo, from her virgin breast the Snowdrop springs ; 
And ere the snows have melted from the grass, 
And not a strip of greensward doth appear. 
Save the faint prophecy its cheeks declare. 
Alone, unkissed, unloved, behold it pass ! 
While in the ripe enthronement of the year, 
Whispering the breeze, and wedding the rich air 
With her so sweet, delicious bridal breath, — 
Odorous and exquisite beyond compare, 
And starr'd with dews upon her forehead clear. 
Fresh-hearted as a Maiden Queen should be 
Who takes the land's devotion as her fee, — 
The Wild Rose blooms, all summer for her dower, 
Nature's most beautiful and perfect flower. 



THE DEATH OF WINTER 19 



THE DEATH OF WINTER 

When April with her wild blue eye 
Comes dancing over the grass, 
And all the crimson buds so shy- 
Peep out to see her pass ; 
As lightly she loosens her showery locks 
And flutters her rainy wings ; 
Laughingly stoops 

To the glass of the stream, 
And loosens and loops 

Her hair by the gleam, 
While all the young villagers blithe as the flocks 

Go frolicking round in rings ; — 
Then Winter, he who tamed the fly. 
Turns on his back and prepares to die. 
For he cannot live longer under the sky. 

Down the valleys glittering green, 
Down from the hills in snowy rills. 
He melts between the border sheen 

And leaps the flowery verges ! 
He cannot choose but brighten their hues. 
And tho' he would creep, he fain must leap, 

For the quick Spring spirit urges. 
Down the vale and down the dale 
He leaps and lights, till his moments fail, 
Buried in blossoms red and pale. 

While the sweet birds sing his dirges ! 



20 POEMS 

Winter ! I 'd live that life of thine, 
With a frosty brow and an icicle tongue, 
And never a song my whole life long, — 
Were such delicious burial mine ! 
To die and be buried, and so remain 
A wandering brook in April's train. 
Fixing my dying eyes for aye 
On the dawning brows of maiden May. 



JOHN LACKLAND 21 



SONG 



The moon is alone in the sky 

As thou in my soul ; 
The sea takes her image to lie 
Where the white ripples roll 
All night in a dream, 
With the light of her beam, 
Hushedly, mournfully, mistily up to the shore. 
The pebbles speak low 
In the ebb and the flow. 
As I when thy voice came at intervals, tuned to adore ; 
Nought other stirred 
Save my heart all unheard 
Beating to bliss that is past evermore. 



JOHN LACKLAND 

A WICKED man is bad enough on earth ; 

But the baleful lustre of a chief 

Once pledged in tyranny ! star of dearth 

Darkly illmnining a nation's grief ! 

How many men have worn thee on their brows ! 

Alas for them and us ! God's precious gift 

Of gracious dispensation got by theft — 

The damning form of false unholy vows ! 

The thief of God and man must have his fee : 

And thou, John Lackland, despicable prince — 

Basest of England's banes before or since ! 

Thrice traitor, coward, thief ! thou shalt be 

The historic warning, trampled and abhorr'd 

Who dared to steal and stain the symbols of the Lord ! 



22 POEMS 



THE SLEEPING CITY 

A Princess in the eastern tale 
Paced thro' a marble city pale. 
And saw in ghastly shapes of stone 
The sculptured life she breathed alone ; 

Saw, where'er her eye might range. 
Herself the only child of change ; 
And heard her echoed footfall chime 
Between Oblivion and Time ; 

And in the squares where fountains played, 
And up the spiral balustrade. 
Along the drowsy corridors. 
Even to the inmost sleeping floors, 

Surveyed in wonder chilled with dread 
The seemingness of Death, not dead ; 
Life's semblance but without its storm, 
And silence frosting every form ; 

Crowned figures, cold and grouping slaves, 
Like suddenly arrested waves 
About to sink, about to rise, — 
Strange meaning in their stricken eyes ; 

And cloths and couches live with flame 
Of leopards fierce and lions tame, 
And hunters in the jungle reed, 
Thrown out by sombre glowing brede ; 



THE SLEEPING CITY 23 

Dumb chambers hushed with fold on fold, 
And cumbrous gorgeousness of gold ; 
White casements o'er embroidered seats, 
Looking on solitudes of streets, — 

On palaces and column'd towers. 
Unconscious of the stormy hours ; 
Harsh gateways startled at a sound, 
With burning lamps all burnish'd round ; — 

Surveyed in awe this wealth and state. 
Touched by the finger of a Fate, 
And drew with slow-awakening fear 
The sternness of the atmosphere ; — 

And gradually, with stealthier foot. 
Became herself a thing as mute. 
And listened, — while with swift alarm 
Her alien heart shrank from the charm ; 

Yet as her thoughts dilating rose. 
Took glory in the great repose, 
And over every postured form 
Spread lava-like and brooded warm, — 

And fixed on every frozen face 

Beheld the record of its race. 

And in each chiselled feature knew 

The stormy life that once blushed thro' ; — 

The ever-present of the past 
There written ; all that lightened last. 
Love, anguish, hope, disease, despair. 
Beauty and rage, all written there ; — 



24 POEMS 

Enchanted Passions ! whose pale doom 
Is never flushed by Wight or bloom, 
But sentinelled by silent orbs, 
Whose light the pallid scene absorbs. — 

Like such a one I pace along 
This City with its sleeping throng ; 
Like her with dread and awe, that turns 
To rapture, and sublimely yearns ; — 

For now the quiet stars look down 

On lights as quiet as their own ; 

The streets that groaned with traffic show 

As if with silence paved below ; 

The latest revellers are at peace, 
The signs of in-door tumult cease, 
From gay saloon and low resort. 
Comes not one murmur or report : 

The clattering chariot rolls not by, 
The windows show no waking eye, 
The houses smoke not, and the air 
Is clear, and all the midnight fair. 

The centre of the striving world. 
Round which the human fate is curled, 
To which the future crieth wild, — 
Is pillowed like a cradled child. 

The palace roof that guards a crown, 
The mansions swathed in dreamy down, 
Hovel, court, and alley-shed. 
Sleep in the calmness of the dead. 



THE SLEEPING CITY 25 

Now while the many-motived heart 
Lies hushed — ^fireside and busy mart, 
And mortal pulses beat the tune 
That charms the calm cold ear o' the moon 

Whose yellowing crescent down the West 
Leans listening, now when every breast 
Its basest or its purest heaves, 
The soul that joys, the soul that grieves; — 

While Fame is crowning happy brows 
That day will blindly scorn, while vows 
Of anguished love, long hidden, speak 
From faltering tongue and flushing cheek 

The language only known to dreams, 
Rich eloquence of rosy themes ! 
While on the Beauty's folded mouth 
Disdain just wrinkles baby youth; 

While Poverty dispenses alms 
To outcasts, bread, and healing balms ; 
While old Mammon knows himself 
The greatest beggar for his pelf ; 

While noble things in darkness grope. 
The Statesman's aim, the Poet's hope ; 
The Patriot's impulse gathers fire, 
And germs of future fruits aspire ; — 

Now while dumb nature owns its links, 
And from one common fountain drinks, 
Methinks in all around I see 
This Picture in Eternity ; — 



26 POEMS 

A marbled City planted there 
With all its pageants and despair ; 
A peopled hush, a Death not dead, 
But stricken with Medusa's head ; — 

And in the Gorgon's glance for aye 
The lifeless immortality 
Reveals in sculptured calmness all 
Its latest life beyond recall. 



THE POETRY OF SPENSER 27 



THE POETRY OF CHAUCER 

Gbet with all honours of age ! but fresh-featured 

and ruddy 
As dawn when the drowsy farm-yard has thrice 

heard Chaunticlere. 
Tender to tearfulness — childlike, and manly, and 

motherly ; 
Here beats true English blood richest joyance on sweet 

English groimd. 



THE POETRY OF SPENSER 

Lakes where the sunsheen is mystic with splendour 

and softness ; 
Vales where sweet life is all Summer with golden 

romance : 
Forests that glimmer with twilight round revel-bright 

palaces ; 
Here in our May-blood we wander, careering 'mongst 

ladies and knights. 



28 POEMS 



THE POETRY OF SHAKESPEARE 

Picture some Isle smiling green 'mid the white- 
foaming ocean; — 

Full of old woods, leafy wisdoms, and frolicsome fays ; 

Passions and pageants; sweet love singing bird-like 
above it ; 
Life in all shapes, aims, and fates, is there warm'd by one 
great human heart. 



THE POETRY OF MILTON 

Like to some deep-chested organ whose grand in- 
spiration. 
Serenely majestic in utterance, lofty and calm. 
Interprets to mortals with melody great as its 
burthen 
The mystical harmonies chiming for ever throughout the 
bright spheres. 



THE POETRY OF COLERIDGE 29 



THE POETRY OF SOUTHEY 

Keen as an eagle whose flight towards the dim 
empyrean 

Fearless of toil or fatigue ever royally wends ! 

Vast in the cloud-coloured robes of the balm- 
breathing Orient 
Lo ! the grand Epic advances, unfolding the humanest 
truth. 



THE POETRY OF COLERIDGE 

A BBOOK glancing under green leaves, self-delighting, 

exulting, 
And full of a gurgling melody ever renewed — 
Renewed thro' all changes of Heaven, unceasing in 

sunlight. 
Unceasing in moonlight, but hushed in the beams of the 

holier orb. 



30 POEMS 



THE POETRY OF SHELLEY 

See'st thou a Skylark whose glistening winglets 

ascending 
Quiver like pulses beneath the melodious dawn? 
Deep in the heart-yearning distance of heaven it 

flutters — 
Wisdom and beauty and love are the treasures it brings 

down at eve. 



THE POETRY OF WORDSWORTH 

A BREATH of the mountains, fresh born in the 

regions majestic, 
That look with their eye-daring summits deep into 

the sky. 
The voice of great Nature; sublime with her lofty 

conceptions, 
Yet earnest and simple as any sweet child of the green 

lowly vale. 



VIOLETS 31 



THE POETRY OF KEATS 

The song of a nightingale sent thro' a slumbrous 

valley, 
Low-lidded with twilight, and tranced with the 

dolorous sound. 
Tranced with a tender enchantment; the yearning 

of passion 
That wins immortality even while panting delirious with 

death. 



VIOLETS 

Violets, shy violets ! 

How many hearts with you compare'. 

Who hide themselves in thickest green, 
And thence, unseen, 
Ravish the enraptured air 
With sweetness, dewy fresh and rare ! 

Violets, shy violets ! 

Human hearts to me shall be 
Viewless violets in the grass, 
And as I pass, 
Odours and sweet imagery 
Will wait on mine and gladden me ! 



32 POEMS 



ANGELIC LOVE 

Angelic love that stoops with heavenly lips 

To meet its earthly mate ; 
Heroic love that to its sphere's eclipse 

Can dare to join its fate 
With one beloved devoted human heart, 
And share with it the passion and the smart, 
The undying bliss 
Of its most fleeting kiss ; 
The fading grace 
Of its most sweet embrace : — 
Angelic love, heroic love ! 
Whose birth can only be above. 
Whose wandering must be on earth. 
Whose haven where it first had birth ! 
Love that can part with all but its own worth, 
And joy in every sacrifice 
That beautifies its Paradise ! 
And gently, like a golden-fruited vine, 
With earnest tenderness itself consign. 
And creeping up deliriously entwine 
Its dear delicious arms 

Round the beloved being ! 
With fair unfolded charms. 

All-trusting, and all-seeing, — 
Grape-laden with full bunches of young wine ! 
While to the panting heart's dry yearning drouth 
Buds the rich dewy mouth — 



ANGELIC LOVE 33 

Tenderly uplifted, 

Like two rose-leaves drifted 
Down in a long warm sigh of the sweet South ! 

Such love, such love is thine, 

Such heart is mine, 
O thou of mortal visions most divine ! 



34 POEMS 



TWILIGHT MUSIC 

Know you the low pervading breeze 

That softly sings 
In the trembling leaves of twilight trees, 
As if the wind were dreaming on its wings ? 
And have you marked their still degrees 
Of ebbing melody, like the strings 
Of a silver harp swept by a spirit's hand 
In some strange glimmering land, 
'Mid gushing springs, 
And glistenings 
Of waters and of planets, wild and grand ! 
And have you marked in that still time 
The chariots of those shining cars 
Brighten upon the hushing dark, 
And bent to hark 
That Voice, amid the poplar and the lime. 
Pause in the dilating lustre 

Of the spheral cluster ; 
Pause but to renew its sweetness, deep 
As dreams of heaven to souls that sleep ! 
And felt, despite earth's jarring wars, 
When day is done 
And dead the sun. 
Still a voice divine can sing. 
Still is there sympathy can bring 
A whisper from the stars ! 
Ah, with this sentience quickly will you know 



TWILIGHT MUSIC 35 

How like a tree I tremble to the tones 

Of your sweet voice ! 

How keenly I rejoice 
When in me with sweet motions slow 
The spiritual music ebbs and moans — 
Lives in the lustre of those heavenly eyes, 
Dies in the light of its own paradise, — 
Dies, and relives eternal from its death, 
Immortal melodies in each deep breath ; 
Sweeps thro' my being, bearing up to thee 
Myself, the weight of its eternity ; 
Till, nerved to life from its ordeal fire. 
It marries music with the human lyre, 
Blending divine delight with loveliest desire. 



36 POEMS 



REQUIEM 

Where faces are hueless, where eyelids are dewless, 
Where passion is silent and hearts never crave ; 

Where thought hath no theme, and where sleep hath no 
dream, 
In patience and peace thou art gone — to thy grave ! 

Gone where no warning can wake thee to morning, 
Dead tho' a thousand hands stretch'd out to save. 

Thou cam'st to us sighing, and singing and dying. 
How could it be otherwise, fair as thou wert ? 

Placidly fading, and sinking and shading 

At last to that shadow, the latest desert ; 

Wasting and waning, but still, still remaining. 

Alas for the hand that could deal the death-hurt ! 

The Summer that brightens, the Winter that whitens, 
The world and its voices, the sea and the sky, 

The bloom of creation, the tie of relation. 

All — all is a blank to thine ear and thine eye ; 

The ear may not listen, the eye may not glisten, 
Nevermore waked by a smile or a sigh. 

The tree that is rootless must ever be fruitless ; 

And thou art alone in thy death and thy birth ; 
No last loving token of wedded love broken. 

No sign of thy singleness, sweetness and worth ; 
Lost as the flower that is drowned in the shower, 

Fall'n like a snowflake to melt in the earth. 



THE FLOWER OF THE RUINS 37 



THE FLOWER OF THE RUINS 

Take thy lute and sing 
By the ruined castle walls, 
Where the torrent-foam falls, 
And long weeds wave : 

Take thy lute and sing. 
O'er the grey ancestral grave ! 

Daughter of a King, 
Tune thy string. 

Sing of happy hours. 
In the roar of rushing time ; 
Till all the echoes chime 
To the days gone by ; 

Sing of passing hours 
To the ever-present sky ; — 

Weep — and let the showers 
Wake thy flowers. 

Sing of glories gone : — 
No more the blazoned fold 
From the banner is unrolled ; 
The gold sun is set. 

Sing his glory gone. 
For thy voice may charm him yet ; 

Daughter of the dawn. 
He is gone ! 



38 POEMS 

Pour forth all thy grief ! 
Passionately sweep the chords, 
Wed them quivering to thy words ; 
WUd words of wail ! 

Shed thy withered grief — 
But hold not Autumn to thy-bale ; 

The eddy of the leaf 
Must be brief. 

Sing up to the night : 
Hard it is for streaming tears 
To read the calmness of the spheres ; 
Coldly they shine ; 

Sing up to their light ; 
They have views thou may'st divine — 

Gain prophetic sight 
From their hght ! 

On the windy hills 
Lo, the little harebell leans 
On the spire-grass that it queens, 
With bonnet blue ; 

Trusting love instils 
Love and subject reverence true ; 

Learn what love instils 
On the hills ! 

By the bare wayside 
Placid snowdrops hang their cheeks, 
Softly touch'd with pale green streaks, 
Soon, soon, to die ; 

On the clothed hedgeside 
Bands of rosy beauties vie. 

In their prophecied 
Summer pride. 



THE FLOWER OF THE RUINS 39 

From the snowdrop learn ; 
Not in her pale life lives she, 
But in her blushing prophecy. 
Thus be thy hopes, 

Living but to yearn 
Upwards to the hidden scopes ; — 

Even within the urn 
Let them burn ! 

Heroes of thy race — 
Warriors with golden crowns. 
Ghostly shapes with marbled frowns 
Stare thee to stone ; 

Matrons of thy race 
Pass before thee making moan ; 

Full of solemn grace 
Is their pace. 

Piteous their despair ! 
Piteous their looks forlorn ! 
Terrible their ghostly scorn ! 
Still hold thou fast ; — 

Heed not their despair ! — 
Thou art thy future, not thy past ; 

Let them glance and glare 
Thro' the air. 

Thou the ruin's bud. 
Be not that moist rich-smelling weed 
With its arras-sembled brede, 
And ruin-haunting stalk ; 

Thou the ruin's bud. 
Be still the rose that lights the walk, 

Mix thy fragrant blood 
With the flood ! 



40 POEMS 



THE RAPE OF AURORA 

Never, O never, 

Since dewy sweet Flora 
Was ravished by Zephyr, 

Was such a thing heard 

In the valleys so hollow ! 

Till rosy Aurora, 
Uprising as ever, 

Bright Phosphor to follow, 
Pale Phoebe to sever. 

Was caught like a bird 

To the breast of Apollo ! 

Wildly she flutters, 

And flushes all over 
With passionate mutters 

Of shame to the hush 

Of his amorous whispers : 

But such a lover 
Must win when he utters, 

Thro' rosy red lispers, 
The pains that discover 

The wishes that gush 

From the torches of Hesperus. 

One finger just touching 
The Orient chamber, 
Unflooded the gushing 



THE RAPE OF AURORA 41 

Of light that illumed 

All her lustrous unveiling. 
On clouds of glow amber, 
Her limbs richly blushing, 

She lay sweetly wailing. 
In odours that gloomed 

On the God as he bloomed 

O'er her loveliness paling. 

Great Pan in his covert 

Beheld the rare glistening. 
The cry of the love-hurt. 

The sigh and the kiss 

Of the latest close mingling : 

But love, thought he, listening. 
Will not do a dove hurt, 

I know, — and a tingling, 
Latent with bliss, 

Prickt thro' him, I wis. 

For the Nymph he was singling. 



42 POEMS 



SOUTH-WEST WIND IN THE WOODLAND 

The silence of preluded song — 

iEolian silence charms the woods ; 

Each tree a harp, whose foliaged strings 

Are waiting for the master's touch 

To sweep them into storms of joy, 

Stands mute and whispers not ; the birds 

Brood dumb in their foreboding nests, 

Save here and there a chirp or tweet, 

That utters fear or anxious love, 

Or when the ouzel sends a swift 

Half warble, shrinking back again 

His golden bill, or when aloud 

The storm-cock warns the dusking hills 

And villages and valleys round : 

For lo, beneath those ragged clouds 

That skirt the opening west, a stream 

Of yellow light and windy flame 

Spreads lengthening southward, and the sky 

Begins to gloom, and o'er the ground 

A moan of coming blasts creeps low 

And rustles in the crisping grass ; 

Till suddenly with mighty arms 

Outspread, that reach the horizon round. 

The great South- West drives o'er the earth, 

And loosens all his roaring robes 

Behind him, over heath and moor. 

He comes upon the neck of night, 



SOUTH-WEST WIND IN THE WOODLAND 43 

Like one that leaps a fiery steed 

Whose keen black haunches quivering shine 

With eagerness and haste, that needs 

No spur to make the dark leagues fly ! 

Whose eyes are meteors of speed ; 

Whose mane is as a flashing foam ; 

Whose hoofs are travelling thunder-shocks ; — 

He comes, and while his growing gusts, 

Wild couriers of his reckless course. 

Are whistling from the daggered gorse. 

And hurrying over fern and broom, 

Midway, far off, he feigns to halt 

And gather in his streaming train. 

Now, whirring like an eagle's wing 
Preparing for a wide blue fUght ; 
Now, flapping like a sail that tacks 
And chides the wet bewildered mast ; 
Now, screaming like an anguish'd thing 
Chased close by some down-breathing beak ; 
Now, wailing like a breaking heart, 
That will not wholly break, but hopes 
With hope that knows itself in vain ; 
Now, threatening like a storm-charged cloud ; 
Now, cooing like a woodland dove ; 
Now, up again in roar and wrath 
High soaring and wide sweeping ; now, 
With sudden fury dashing down 
Full-force on the awaiting woods. 

Long waited there, for aspens frail 
That tinkle with a silver bell, 
To warn the Zephyr of their love. 
When danger is at hand, and wake 
The neighbouring boughs, surrendering aU 



44 POEMS 

Their prophet harmony of leaves, 

Had caught his earhest windward thought, 

And told it trembling ; naked birk 

Down showering her dishevelled hair, 

And like a beauty yielding up 

Her fate to all the elements, 

Had swayed in answer ; hazels close. 

Thick brambles and dark brushwood tufts, 

And briared brakes that line the dells 

With shaggy beetling brows, had sung 

Shrill music, while the tattered flaws 

Tore over them, and now the whole 

Tumultuous concords, seized at once 

With savage inspiration, — pine, 

And larch, and beech, and fir, and thorn, 

And ash, and oak, and oakling, rave 

And shriek, and shout, and whirl, and toss. 

And stretch their arms, and split, and crack, 

And bend their stems, and bow their heads. 

And grind, and groan, and lion-like 

Roar to the echo-peopled hOls 

And ravenous wilds, and crake-like cry 

With harsh delight, and cave-like call 

With hollow mouth, and harp-like thrill 

With mighty melodies, sublime. 

From clumps of column'd pines that wave 

A lofty anthem to the sky. 

Fit music for a prophet's soul — 

And like an ocean gathering power. 

And murmuring deep, while down below 

Reigns calm profound ; — not trembling now 

The aspens, but like freshening waves 

That fall upon a shingly beach ; — 

And round the oak a solemn roll 

Of organ harmony ascends. 



SOUTH-WEST WIND IN THE WOODLAND 4S 

And in the upper foliage sounds 
A symphony of distant seas. 

The voice of nature is abroad 

This night ; she fills the air with balm ; 

Her mystery is o'er the land ; 

And who that hears her now and yields 

His being to her yearning tones, 

And seats his soul upon her wings, 

And broadens o'er the wind-swept world 

With her, will gather in the flight 

More knowledge of her secret, more 

Delight in her beneficence. 

Than hours of musing, or the lore 

That lives with men could ever give ! 

Nor will it pass away when morn 

Shall look upon the lulling leaves. 

And woodland sunshine, Eden-sweet, 

Dreams o'er the paths of peaceful shade ; — 

For every elemental power 

Is kindred to our hearts, and once 

Acknowledged, wedded, once embraced, 

Once taken to the unfettered sense, 

Once claspt into the naked life, 

The union is eternal. 



46 POEMS 



WILL O' THE WISP 

Follow me, follow me, 
Over brake and under tree. 
Thro' the bosky tanglery. 

Brushwood and bramble ! 

Follow me, follow me, 

Laugh and leap and scramble ! 

Follow, follow. 

Hill and hollow, 

Fosse and burrow, 

Fen and furrow, 
Down into the bulrush beds, 
'Midst the reeds and osier heads, 
In the rushy soaking damps, 
Where the vapours pitch their camps. 

Follow me, follow nie. 

For a midnight ramble ! 
! what a mighty fog. 
What a merry night ho ! 
Follow, follow, nigher, nigher — 
Over bank, and pond, and briar, 
Down into the croaking ditches, 

Rotten log. 

Spotted frog, 

Beetle bright 

With crawling light. 
What a joy ho ! 
Deep into the purple bog — 
What a joy ho ! 



WILL 0' THE WISP 47 

Where like hosts of puckered witches 

All the shivering agues sit 

Warming hands and chafing feet, 

By the blue marsh-hovering oils : 

O the fools for all their moans ! 

Not a forest mad with fire 

Could still their teeth, or warm their bones, 

Or loose them from their chilly coUs. 

What a clatter, 

How they chatter ! 

Shrink and huddle, 

All a muddle ! 

What a joy O ho ! 
Down we go, down we go. 
What a joy ho ! 
Soon shall I be down below. 
Plunging with a grey fat friar, 
Hither, thither, to and fro. 
Breathing mists and whisking lamps, 
Plashing in the shiny swamps ; 
While my cousin Lantern Jack, 
With cock ears and cunning eyes, 
Turns him round upon his back, 
Daubs him oozy green and black, 
Sits upon his rolling size, 
Where he lies, where he lies. 
Groaning full of sack — 
Staring with his great round eyes 1 

What a joy ho ! 
Sits upon him in the swamps 
Breathing mists and whisking lamps ! 

What a joy ho ! 
Such a lad is Lantern Jack, 
When he rides the black nightmare 
Through the fens, and puts a glare 



48 POEMS 

In the friar's track. 
Such a f roHc lad, good lack ! 
To turn a friar on his back, 
Trip him, clip him, whip him, nip him. 
Lay him sprawling, smack ! 
Such a lad is Lantern Jack ! 
Such a tricksy lad, good lack ! 
What a joy ho ! 
Follow me, follow me. 
Where he sits, and you shall see ! 



SONG 49 



SONG 

Fair and false ! No dawn will greet 

Thy waking beauty as of old ; 
The little flower beneath thy feet 

Is alien to thy smile so cold ; 
The merry bird flown up to meet 
Young morning from his nest i' the wheat 

Scatters his joy to wood and wold, 

But scorns the arrogance of gold. 

False and fair ! I scarce know why, 

But standing in the lonely air. 
And underneath the blessed sky, 

I plead for thee in my despair ; — 
For thee cut off, both heart and eye 
From living truth ; thy spring quite dry ; 

For thee, that heaven my thought may share. 

Forget — how false ! and think — how fair ! 



50 POEMS 



SONG 

Two wedded lovers watched the rising moon, 

That with her strange mysterious beauty glowing. 
Over misty hills and waters flowing, 

Crowned the long twilight loveliness of June : 
And thus in me, and thus in me, they spake, 
The solemn secret of first love did wake. 

Above the hills the blushing orb arose; 

Her shape encircled by a radiant bower, 

In which the nightingale with charmed power 

Poured forth enchantment o'er the dark repose : 
And thus in me, and thus in me, they said, 
Earth's mists did with the sweet new spirit wed. 

Far up the sky with ever purer beam, 

Upon the throne of night the moon was seated. 
And down the valley glens the shades retreated. 

And silver light was on the open stream. 

And thus in me, and thus in me, they sighed. 
Aspiring Love has hallowed Passion's tide. 



SONG 51 



SONG 

I CANNOT lose thee for a day, 

But like a bird with restless wing 
My heart will find thee far away, 
And on thy bosom fall and sing, 

My nest is here, my rest is here ; — 
And in the lull of wind and rain, 
Fresh voices make a sweet refrain, 

'His rest is there, his nest is there.' 

With thee the wind and sky are fair. 

But parted, both are strange and dark; 
And treacherous the quiet air 

That holds me singing like a lark, 

shield my love, strong arm above ! 
Till in the hush of wind and rain. 
Fresh voices make a rich refrain, 

'The arm above will shield thy love.' 



52 POEMS 



DAPHNE 



Musing on the fate of Daphne, 
Many feelings urged my breast, 
For the God so keen desiring, 
And the Nymph so deep distrest. 

Never flashed thro' sylvan valley 
Visions so divinely fair ! 
He with early ardour glowing. 
She with rosy anguish rare. 

Only still more sweet and lovely 
For those terrors on her brows, 
Those swift glances wild and brilliant, 
Those delicious panting vows. 

Timidly the timid shoulders 
Shrinking from the fervid hand ! 
Dark the tide of hair back-flowing 
From the blue-veined temples bland ! 

Lovely, too, divine Apollo 
In the speed of his pursuit ; 
With his eye an azure lustre, 
And his voice a summer lute ! 

Looking like some burnished eagle 
Hovering o'er a fluttered bird ; 
Not unseen of silver Naiad, 
And of wistful Dryad heard ! 



DAPHNE 53 

Many a morn the naked beauty 
Saw her bright reflection drown 
In the flowing smooth-faced river, 
While the god came sheening down. 

Down from Pindus bright Peneus 
Tells its muse-melodious source ; 
Sacred is its fountained birthplace, 
And the Orient floods its course. 

Many a morn the sunny darling 
Saw the rising chariot-rays, 
From the winding river-reaches, 
Mellowing in amber haze. 

Thro' the flaming mountain gorges 
Lo, the River leaps the plain ; 
Like a wild god-stridden courser. 
Tossing high its foamy mane. 

Then he swims thro' laurelled sunlight, 
Full of all sensations sweet, 
Misty with his morning incense. 
To the mirrored maiden's feet ! 

Wet and bright the dinting pebbles 
Shine where oft she paused and stood ; 
All her dreamy warmth revolving. 
While the chilly waters wooed. 

Like to rosy-born Aurora, 
Glowing freshly into view, 
When her doubtful foot she ventures 
On the first cold morning blue. 



54 POEMS 

White as that Thessahan hly, 
Fairest Tempe's fairest flower, 
Lo, the tall Peneian virgin 
Stands beneath her bathing bower. 

There the laurell'd wreaths o'erarching 
Crown'd the dainty shuddering maid ; 
There the dark prophetic laurel 
Kiss'd her with its sister shade. 

There the young green glistening leaflets 
Hush'd with love their breezy peal ; 
There the little opening flowerets 
Blush'd beneath her vermeil heel ! 

There among the conscious arbours 
Sounds of soft tumultuous wail, 
Mysteries of love, melodious, 
Came upon the lyric gale ! 

Breathings of a deep enchantment. 
Effluence of immortal grace. 
Flitted round her faltering footstep, 
Spread a balm about her face ! 

Witless of the enamour'd presence, 
Like a dreamy lotus bud 
From its drowsy stem down-drooping, 
Gazed she in the glowing flood. 

Softly sweet with fluttering presage, 
Felt she that ethereal sense, 
Drinking charms of love delirious. 
Reaping bliss of love intense ! 



DAPHNE 55 

All the air was thrill'd with sunrise, 
Birds made music of her name, 
And the god-impregnate water 
Claspt her image ere she came. 

Richer for that glance unconscious ! 
Dearer for that soft dismay ! 
And the sudden self-possession ! 
And the smile as bright as day ! 

Plunging 'mid her scattered tresses. 
With her blue invoking eyes ; 
See her like a star descending ! 
Like a rosebud see her rise ! 

Like a rosebud in the morning 
Dashing off its jewell'd dews, 
Ere unfolding all its fragrance 
It is gathered by the muse ! 

Beauteous in the foamy laughter 
Bubbling round her shrinking waist, 
Lo ! from locks and lips and eyelids 
Rain the glittering pearl-drops chaste ! 

And about the maiden rapture 
Still the ruddy ripples play'd. 
Ebbing round in startled circlets 
When her arms began to wade ; 

Flowing in like tides attracted 
To the glowing crescent shine ! 
Clasping her ambrosial whiteness 
Like an Autumn-tinted vine ! 



56 POEMS 

Sinking low with love's emotion ! 
Levying with look and tone 
All love's rosy arts to mimic 
Cytherea's magic zone ! 

Trembling up with adoration 
To the crimson daisy tip 
Budding from the snowy bosom — 
Fainter than the rose-red lip ! 

Rising in a storm of wavelets, 
That for shelter, feigning fright, 
Prest to those twin-heaving havens, 
Harbour'd there beneath her light ; 

Gleaming in a whirl of eddies 
Round her lucid throat and neck ; 
Eddying in a gleam of dimples 
Up against her bloomy cheek ; 

Bribing all the breezy water 
With rich warmth, the nymph to keep 
In a self-imprison' d plaisance. 
Tempting her from deep to deep. 

Till at last delirious passion 
Thrill'd the god to wild excess, 
And the fervour of a moment 
Made divinity confess ; 

And he stood in all his glory ! 
But so radiant, being near. 
That her eyes were frozen on him 
In a fascinated fear ! 



DAPHNE 57 

All with orient splendour shining, 
All with roseate birth aglow, 
Gleam' d the golden god before her, 
With his golden crescent bow. 

Soon the dazzled light subsided, 
And he seem'd a beauteous youth, 
Form'd to gain the maiden's murmurs, 
And to pledge the vows of truth. 

Ah ! that thus he had continued ! 
0, that such for her had been ! 
Graceful with all godlike beauty. 
But so humanly serene ! 

Cheeks, and mouth, and mellow ringlets, 
Bounteous as the mid-day beam ; 
Pleading looks and wistful tremour, 
Tender as a maiden's dream ! 

Palms that like a bird's throbb'd bosom 
Palpitate with eagerness, 
Lips, the bridals of the roses, 
Dewy sweet from the caress ! 

Lips and limbs, and eyes and ringlets, 
Swajdng, praying to one prayer. 
Like a lyre, swept by a spirit. 
In the still, enraptur'd air. 

Like a lyre in some far valley. 
Uttering ravishments divine ! 
All its strings to viewless fingers 
Yearning, modulations fine ! 



58 POEMS 

Yearning with melodious fervour ! 
Like a beauteous maiden flower, 
When the young beloved three paces 
Hovers from the bridal bower. 

Throbbing thro' the dawning stillness I 
As a heart within a breast, 
When the young beloved is stepping 
Radiant to the nuptial nest. 

O for Daphne ! gentle Daphne ! 
Ever warmer by degrees 
Whispers full of hopes and visions 
Throng her ears like honey bees ! 

Never yet was lonely blossom 
Woo'd with such delicious voice ! 
Never since hath mortal maiden 
Dwelt on such celestial choice ! 

Love-suffused she quivers, falters — 
Falters, sighs, but never speaks, 
All her rosy blood up-gushing 
Overflows her ripe young cheeks. 

Blushing, sweet with virgin blushes, 
All her loveliness a-flame. 
Stands she in the orient waters, 
Stricken o'er with speechless shame ! 

Ah ! but lovelier, ever lovelier. 
As more deep the colour glows, 
And the honey-laden lily 
Changes to the fragrant rose. 



DAPHNE 59 

While the god with meek embraces, 
Whispering all his sacred charms, 
Softly folds her, gently holds her, 
In his white encircling arms ! 

But, Dian ! veU not wholly 
Thy pale crescent from the mom ! 
Vanish not, O virgin goddess. 
With that look of pallid scorn ! 

Still thy pure protecting influence 
Shed from those fair watchful eyes ! — 
Lo ! her angry orb has vanished, 
And the bright sun thrones the skies ! 

Voicelessly the forest Virgin 
Vanished ! but one look she gave — 
Keen as Niobean arrow 
Thro' the maiden's heart it drave. 

Thus toward that throning bosom 
Where all earth is warmed, — each spot 
Nourished with autumnal blessings — 
Icy chill was Daphne caught. 

Icy chill ! but swift revulsion 
All her gentler self renewed, 
Even as icy Winter quickens 
With bud-opening warmth imbued. 

Even as a torpid brooklet, 
That to the night-gleaming moon 
Flashed in turn the frozen glances, 
Melts upon the breast of noon. 



60 POEMS 

But no more — never, never, 
Turns she to that bosom bright, 
Swiftly all her senses counsel, 
All her nerves are strung to flight. 

O'er the brows of radiant Pindus 
Rolls a shadow dark and cold, 
And a sound of lamentation 
Issues from its mournful fold. 

Voice of the far-sighted Muses ! 
Cry of keen foreboding song ! 
Every cleft of startled Tempe 
Tingles with it sharp and long. 

Over bourn and bosk and dingle, 
Over rivers, over rills, 
Runs the sad subservient Echo 
Toward the dim blue distant hills ! 

And another and another ! 
'Tis a cry more wild than all ; 
And the hills with muffled voices 
Answer 'Daphne !' to the call. 

And another and another ! 

'Tis a cry so wildly sweet. 

That her charmed heart turns rebel 

To the instinct of her feet ; 

And she pauses for an instant ; 
But his arms have scarcely slid 
Round her waist in cestian girdles. 
And his low voluptuous lid 



DAPHNE 61 

Lifted pleading, and the honey 
Of his mouth for hers athirst, 
Ruby gUstening, raised for moisture — 
Like a bud that waits to burst 

In the sweet espousing showers — 
And his tongue has scarce begun 
With its inarticulate burthen, 
And the clouds scarce show the sun 

As it pierces thro' a crevice 
Of the mass that closed it o'er, 
When again the horror flashes — 
And she turns to flight once more ! 

And again o'er radiant Pindus 
Rolls the shadow dark and cold, 
And the sound of lamentation 
Issues from its sable fold ! 

And again the light winds chide her 
As she darts from his embrace — 
And again the far- voiced echoes 
Speak their tidings of the chase. 

Loudly now as swiftly, swiftly, 

O'er the glimmering sands she speeds ; 

Wildly now as in the furzes 

From the piercing spikes she bleeds. 

Deeply and with direful anguish. 
As above each crimson drop 
Passion checks the god Apollo, 
And love bids him weep and stop. — 



62 POEMS 

He above each drop of crimson 
Shadowing — hke the laurel leaf 
That above himself will shadow — 
Sheds a fadeless look of grief. 

Then with love's remorseful discord, 
With its own desire at war, 
Sighing turns, while dimly fleeting 
Daphne flies the chase afar. 

But all nature is against her ! 
Pan, with all his sylvan troop, 
Thro' the vista'd woodland valleys 
Blocks her course with cry and whoop ! 

In the twilights of the thickets 
Trees bend down their gnarled boughs, 
Wild green leaves and low curved branches 
Hold her hair and beat her brows. 

Many a brake of brushwood covert, 
Where cold darkness slumbers mute. 
Slips a shrub to thwart her passage, 
Slides a hand to clutch her foot. 

Glens and glades of lushest verdure 
Toil her in their tawny mesh, 
Wilder-woofed ways and alleys 
Lock her struggling limbs in leash. 

Feathery grasses, flowery mosses. 
Knot themselves to make her trip ; 
Sprays and stubborn sprigs outstretching 
Put a bridle on her lip ; 



DAPHNE 63 

Many a winding lane betrays her, 
Many a sudden bosky shoot, 
And her knee makes many a stumble 
O'er some hidden damp old root, 

Whose quaint face peers green and dusky 
'Mpngst the matted growth of plants, 
While she rises wUd and weltering. 
Speeding on with many pants. 

Tangles of the wild red strawberry 
Spread their freckled trammels frail ; 
In the pathway creeping brambles 
Catch her in their thorny trail. 

All the widely sweeping greensward 
Shifts and swims from knoll to knoll ; 
Grey rough-fingered oak and elm wood 
Push her by from bole to bole. 

Groves of lemon, groves of citron, 
Tall high-foliaged plane and palm, 
Bloomy myrtle, light-blue olive, 
Wave her back with gusts of balm. 

Languid jasmine, scrambling briony, 
Walls of close-festooning braid. 
Fling themselves about her, mingling 
With her wafted locks, waylaid. 

Twisting bindweed, honey'd woodbine. 
Cling to her, while, red and blue. 
On her rounded form ripe berries 
Dash and die in gory dew. 



64 POEMS 

Running ivies dark and lingering 
Round her light limbs drag and twine ; 
Round her waist with languorous tendrils 
Reels and wreathes the juicy vine ; 

Reining in the flying creature 
With its arms about her mouth ; 
Bursting all its mellowing bunches 
To seduce her husky drouth ; 

Crowning her with amorous clusters ; 
Pouring down her sloping back 
Fresh-born wines in glittering rillets, 
Following her in crimson track. 

Buried, drenched in dewy foliage, 
Thus she glimmers from the dawn, 
Watched by every forest creature, 
Fleet-foot Oread, frolic Faun. 

Silver-sandalled Arethusa 
Not more swiftly fled the sands, 
Fled the plains and fled the sunlights, 
Fled the murmuring ocean strands. 

O, that now the earth would open ! 
O, that now the shades would hide ! 
O, that now the gods would shelter ! 
Caverns lead and seas divide ! 

Not more faint soft-lowing lo 
Panted in those starry eyes. 
When the sleepless midnight meadows 
Piteously implored the skies ! 



DAPHNE 65 

Still her breathless flight she urges 
By the sanctuary stream, 
And the god with golden swiftness 
Follows like an eastern beam. 

Her the close bewildering greenery 
Darkens with its duskiest green, — 
Him each little leaflet welcomes, 
Flushing with an orient sheen. 

Thus he nears, and now all Tempe 
Rings with his melodious cry. 
Avenues and blue expanses 
Beam in his large lustrous eye ! 

All the branches start to njusic ! 
As if from a secret spring 
Thousands of sweet bills are bubbling 
In the nest and on the wing. 

Gleams and shines the glassy river 
And rich valleys every one ; 
But of all the throbbing beauty 
Brightest ! singled by the sun ! 

Ivy round her glimmering ancle. 
Vine about her glowing brow, 
Never sure was bride so beauteous. 
Daphne, chosen nymph, as thou ! 

Thus he nears ! and now she feels him 
Breathing hot on every limb ; 
And he hears her own quick pantings — 
Ah ! that they might be for him. 



66 POEMS 

O, that like the flower he tramples, 
Bending from his golden tread, 
Full of fair celestial ardours, 
She would bow her bridal head. 

0, that like the flower she presses, 
Nodding from her lily touch. 
Light as in the harmless breezes, 
She would know the god for such ! 

See ! the golden arms are round her — 
To the air she grasps and clings ! 
See ! his glowing arms have wound her — 
To the sky she shrieks and springs ! 

See ! the flushing chace of Tempe 
Trembles with Olympian air — 
See ! green sprigs and buds are shooting 
From those white raised arms of prayer ! 

In the earth her feet are rooting ! — 
Breasts and limbs and lifted eyes, 
Hair and lips and stretching fingers, 
Fade away — and fadeless rise. 

And the god whose fervent rapture 
Clasps her finds his close embrace 
Full of palpitating branches, 
And new leaves that bud apace, 

Round his wonder-stricken forehead ; — 
While in ebbing measures slow 
Sounds of softly dying pulses 
Pause and quiver, pause and go ; 



DAPHNE 67 

Go, and come again, and flutter 
On the verge of life, — then flee ! 
All the white ambrosial beauty 
Is a lustrous Laurel Tree ! 

Still with the great panting love-chase 
All its running sap is warmed ; — 
But from head to foot the virgin 
Is transfigured and transformed. 

Changed ! — yet the green Dryad nature 
Is instinct with human ties, 
And above its anguish'd lover 
Breathes pathetic sympathies ; 

Sympathies of love and sorrow ; 
Joy in her divine escape ; 
Breathing through her bursting foliage 
Comfort to his bending shape. 

Vainly now the floating Naiads 
Seek to pierce the laurel maze, 
Nought but laurel meets their glances, 
Laurel glistens as they gaze. 

Nought but bright prophetic laurel ! 
Laurel over eyes and brows. 
Over limbs and over bosom. 
Laurel leaves and laurel boughs ! 

And in vain the listening Dryad 
Shells her hand against her ear ! — 
All is silence — save the echo 
Travelling in the distance drear. 



68 POEMS 



LONDON BY LAMPLIGHT 

There stands a singer in the street, 
He has an audience motley and meet ; 
Above him lowers the London night, 
And around the lamps are flaring bright. 

His minstrelsy may be unchaste — 
'Tis much unto that motley taste, 
And loud the laughter he provokes 
From those sad slaves of obscene jokes. 

But woe is many a passer by 
Who as he goes turns half an eye. 
To see the human form divine 
Thus Circe-wise changed into swine ! 

Make up the sum of either sex 
That all our human hopes perplex. 
With those unhappy shapes that know 
The silent streets and pale cock-crow. 

And can I trace in such dull eyes 
Of fireside peace or country skies ? 
And could those haggard cheeks presume 
To memories of a May-tide bloom ? 

Those violated forms have been 
The pride of many a flowering green ; 
And still the virgin bosom heaves 
With daisy meads and dewy leaves. 



LONDON BY LAMPLIGHT 69 

But Stygian darkness reigns within 
The river of death from the founts of sin ; 
And one prophetic water rolls 
Its gas-lit surface for their souls. 

I will not hide the tragic sight — 

Those drown'd black locks, those dead lips white, 

Will rise from out the slimy flood, 

And cry before God's throne for blood ! 

Those stiffened limbs, that swollen face, — 
Pollution's last and best embrace, 
Will call, as such a picture can. 
For retribution upon man. 

Hark ! how their feeble laughter rings, 
While still the ballad-monger sings. 
And flatters their unhappy breasts 
With poisonous words and pungent jests. 

O how would every daisy blush 
To see them 'mid that earthy crush ! 
dumb would be the evening thrush, 
And hoary look the hawthorn bush ! 

The meadows of their infancy 
Would shrink from them, and every tree. 
And every little laughing spot. 
Would hush itself and know them not. 

Precursor to what black despairs 

Was that child's face which once was theirs ! 

And to what a world of guile 

Was herald that young angel smile ! 



70 POEMS 

That face which to a father's eye 
Was balm for all anxiety ; 
That smile which to a mother's heart 
Went swifter than the swallow's dart ! 

happy homes ! that still they know 
At intervals, with what a woe 

Would ye look on them, dim and strange, 
Suffering worse than winter change ! 

And yet could I transplant them there, 
To breathe again the innocent air 
Of youth, and once more reconcile 
Their outcast looks with nature's smile ; 

Could I but give them one clear day 
Of this delicious loving May, 
Release their souls from anguish dark, 
And stand them underneath the lark ; — 

1 think that Nature would have power 
To graft again her blighted flower 
Upon the broken stem, renew 

Some portion of its early hue ; — 

The heavy flood of tears unlock, 

More precious than the Scriptured rock ; 

At least instil a happier mood. 

And bring them back to womanhood. 

Alas ! how many lost ones claim 
This refuge from despair and shame ! 
How many, longing for the light. 
Sink deeper in the abyss this night ! 



LONDON BY LAMPLIGHT 71 

0, crying sin ! 0, blushing thought ! 
Not only unto those that wrought 
The misery and deadly blight ; 
But those that outcast them this night ! 

0, agony of grief ! for who 
Less dainty than his race, will do 
Such battle for their human right, 
As shall awake this startled night ? 

Proclaim this evil human page 
Will ever blot the Golden Age 
That poets dream and saints invite, 
If it be unredeemed this night ? 

This night of deep solemnity, 
And verdurous serenity. 
While over every fleecy field 
The dews descend and odours yield. 

This night of gleaming floods and falls, 
Of forest glooms and sylvan calls, 
Of starlight on the pebbly rills, 
And twilight on the circUng hills. 

This night ! when from the paths of men 
Grey error steams as from a fen ; 
As o'er this flaring City wreathes 
The black cloud-vapour that it breathes ! 

This night from which a morn will spring 

Blooming on its orient wing ; 

A mom to roll with many more 

Its ghostly foam on the twilight shore. 



72 POEMS 

Morn ! when the fate of all mankind 
Hangs poised in doubt, and man is blind. 
His duties of the day will seem 
The fact of life, and mine the dream : 

The destinies that bards have sung, 
Regeneration to the young. 
Reverberation of the truth, 
And virtuous culture unto youth ! 

Youth ! in whose season let abound 
All flowers and fruits that strew the ground, 
Voluptuous joy where love consents, 
And health and pleasure pitch their tents : 

All rapture and all pure delight ; 

A garden all unknown to blight ; 

But never the unnatural sight 

That throngs the shameless song this night ! 



SONG 



SONG 

Under boughs of breathing May, 
In the mild spring-time I lay, 
Lonely, for I had no love ; 

And the sweet birds all sang for pity, 
Cuckoo, lark, and dove. 

Tell me, cuckoo, then I cried. 
Dare I woo and wed a bride ? 
I, like thee, have no home-nest ; 

And the twin notes thus tuned their ditty, - 
' Love can answer best.' 

Nor, warm dove with tender coo. 
Have I thy soft voice to woo. 
Even were a damsel by ; 

And the deep woodland crooned its ditty,— 
'Love her first and try.' 

Nor have I, wild lark, thy wing, 
That from bluest heaven can bring 
Bliss, whatever fate befall ; 

And the sky-lyrist trilled this ditty, — 
'Love will give thee all.' 

So it chanced while June was young. 
Wooing well with fervent song, 
I had won a damsel coy ; 

And the sweet birds that sang for pity, 
Jubileed for joy. 



74 POEMS 



PASTORALS 



How sweet on sunny afternoons, 
For those who journey hght and well, 
To loiter up a hilly rise 
Which hides the prospect far beyond, 
And fancy all the landscape lying 
Beautiful and still ; 

Beneath a sky of summer blue. 
Whose rounded cloudlets, folded soft, 
Gaze on the scene which we await 
And picture from their peacef ulness ; 
So calmly to the earth inclining 

Float those loving shapes ! 

Like airy brides, each singling out 
A spot to love and bless with love. 
Their creamy bosoms glowing warm. 
Till distance weds them to the hills. 
And with its latest gleam the river 
Sinks in their embrace. 

And silverly the river runs. 
And many a graceful wind he makes. 
By fields where feed the happy flocks, 
And hedge-rows hushing pleasant lanes. 
The charms of English home reflected 
In his shining eye : 



PASTORALS 75 

Ancestral oak, broad-foliaged elm, 
Rich meadows sunned and starred with flowers. 
The cottage breathing tender smoke 
Against the brooding golden air, 
With glimpses of a stately mansion 
On a woodland sward ; 

And circling round, as with a ring, 
The distance spreading amber haze, 
Enclosing hills and pastures sweet ; 
A depth of soft and mellow light 
Which fills the heart with sudden yearning 
Aimless and serene ! 

No disenchantment follows here. 
For nature's inspiration moves 
The dream which she herself fulfils ; 
And he whose heart, like valley warmth, 
Steams up with joy at scenes like this 
Shall never be forlorn. 

And for any human soul 
The rapture of a wide survey — 
A valley sweeping to the West, 
With all its wealth of loveliness, 
Is more than recompense for days 
That taught us to endure. 



76 POEMS 



II 



Yon upland slope which hides the sun 
Ascending from his eastern deeps, 
And now against the hues of dawn 
One level line of tillage rears ; 
The furrowed brow of toil and time ; 
To many it is but a sweep of land ! 



To others 'tis an Autumn trust, 
But unto me a mystery ; — 
An influence strange and swift as dreams ; 
A whispering of old romance; 
A temple naked to the clouds ; 
Or one of nature's bosoms fresh revealed, 



Heaving with adoration ! there 
The work of husbandry is done. 
And daily bread is daily earned ; 
Nor seems there ought to indicate 
The springs which move in me such thoughts. 
But from my soul a spirit calls them up. 

All day into the open sky. 
All night to the eternal stars, 
For ever both at morn and eve 
When mellow distances draw near. 
And shadows lengthen in the dusk, 
Athwart the heavens it rolls its glimmering line ! 

When twilight from the dream-hued West 
Sighs hush ! and all the land is stUl ; 



PASTORALS 

When, from the lush empurpling East, 
The twilight of the crowing cock 
Peers on the drowsy village roofs. 
Athwart the heavens that glimmering line is seen. 



And now beneath the rising sun. 
Whose shining chariot overpeers 
The irradiate ridge, while fetlock deep 
In the rich soil his coursers plunge — 
How grand in robes of light it looks ! 
How glorious with rare suggestive grace ! 



The ploughman mounting up the height 
Becomes a glowing shape, as though 
'Twere young Triptolemus, plough in hand, 
While Ceres in her amber scarf 
With gentle love directs him how 
To wed the willing earth and hope for fruits ! 

The furrows running up are fraught 
With meanings ; there the goddess walks. 
While Proserpine is young, and there — 
'Mid the late autumn sheaves, her voice 
Sobbing and choked with dumb despair — 
The nights will hear her wailing for her child ! 

Whatever dim tradition tells, 
Whatever history may reveal, 
Or fancy, from her starry brows, 
Of light or dreamful lustre shed. 
Could not at this sweet time increase 
The quiet consecration of the spot. 



78 POEMS 

Blest with the sweat of labour, blest 
With the young sun's first vigorous beams, 
Village hope and harvest prayer, — 
The heart that throbs beneath it holds 
A bliss so perfect in itself 
Men's thoughts must borrow rather than bestow. 



Ill 

Now standing on this hedgeside path, 
Up which the evening winds are blowing 
Wildly from the lingering lines 

Of sunset o'er the hills ; 
Unaided by one motive thought. 
My spirit with a strange impulsion 
Rises, like a fledgling, 
Whose wings are not mature, but still 
Supported by its strong desire 
Beats up its native air and leaves 

The tender mother's nest. 



Great music under heaven is made. 
And in the track of rushing darkness 
Comes the solemn shape of night. 

And broods above the earth. 
A thing of Nature am I now. 
Abroad, without a sense or feeling 
Born not of her bosom ; 
Content with all her truths and fates ; 
Ev'n as yon strip of grass that bows 
Above the new-born violet bloom, 

And sings with wood and field. 



PASTORALS 

IV 

Lo, as a tree, whose wintry twigs 
Drink in the sun with fibrous joy, 
And down into its dampest roots 
Thrills quickened with the draught of life, 
I wake unto the dawn, and leave my griefs to drowse. 

I rise and drink the fresh sweet air : 
Each draught a future bud of Spring ; 
Each glance of blue a birth of green ; 
I will not mimic yonder oak 
That dallies with dead leaves ev'n while the primro 
peeps. 

But full of these warm-whispering beams. 
Like Memnon in his mother's eye, — 
Aurora ! when the statue stone 
Moaned soft to her pathetic touch, — 
My soul shall own its parent in the founts of day ! 

And ever in the recurring light. 
True to the primal joy of dawn. 
Forget its barren griefs ; and aye 
Like aspens in the faintest breeze 
Turn all its silver sides and tremble into song. 



Now from the meadow floods the wild duck clamours, 
Now the wood pigeon wings a. rapid flight, 
Now the homeward rookery follows up its vanguard, 
And the valley mists are curling up the hills. 



80 POEMS 

Three short songs gives the clear-voiced throstle, 
Sweetening the twilight ere he fills the nest ; 
While the little bird upon the leafless branches 
Tweets to its mate a tiny loving note. 

Deeper the stillness hangs on every motion ; 
Calmer the silence follows every call ; 
Now all is quiet save the roosting pheasant, 
The bell-wether's tinkle and the watch-dog's bark. 

Softly shine the lights from the silent kindling homestead, 
Stars of the hearth to the shepherd in the fold ; 
Springs of desire to the traveller on the roadway ; 
Ever breathing incense to the ever-blessing sky ! 



VI 

How barren would this valley be. 
Without the golden orb that gazes 
On it, broadening to hues 
Of rose, and spreading wings of amber ; 
Blessing it before it falls asleep. 

How barren would this valley be. 
Without the human lives now beating 
In it, or the throbbing hearts 
Far distant, who their flower of childhood 
Cherish here, and water it with tears ! 

How barren should I be, were I 
Without above that loving splendour, 
Shedding light and warmth ! without 
Some kindred natures of my kind 
To joy in me, or yearn towards me now ! 



PASTORALS 



VII 



Summer glows warm on the meadows, and speedwell, ai 

gold-cups, and daisies 
Darken 'mid deepening masses of sorrel, and shadov 

grasses 
Show the ripe hue to the farmer, and summon the scytl 

and the hay-makers 
Down from the village ; and now, even now, the air sme 

of the mowing, 
And the sharp song of the scythe whistles daily; fro 

dawn, till the gloaming 
Wears its cool star, sweet and welcome to all flaming fac 

afield now; 
Heavily weighs the hot season, and drowses the darkenii 

foliage. 
Drooping with languor; the white cloud floats, but sa 

not, for windless 
Heaven's blue tents it; no lark singing up in its fleei 

white valleys ; 
Up in its fairy white valleys, once feathered with minstre 

melodious 
With the invisible joy that wakes dawn o'er the grei 

fields of England. 
Summer glows warm on the meadows ; then come, let 

roam thro' them gaily. 
Heedless of heat, and the hot-kissing sun, and the fear 

dark freckles. 
Never one kiss will he give on a neck, or a lily-white for 

head. 
Chin, hand, or bosom uncovered, all panting, to take tl 

chance coolness. 
But full sure the fiery pressure leaves seal of espousal. 



82 POEMS 

Heed him not ; come, tho' he kiss till the soft little upper- 
lip loses 

Half its pure whiteness ; just speck'd where the curve of 
the rosy mouth reddens. 

Come, let him kiss, let him kiss, and his kisses shall make 

thee the sweeter. 
Thou art no nun, veUed and vowed ; doomed to nourish a 

withering pallor ! 
City exotics beside thee would show like bleached linen 

at mid-day, 
Hung upon hedges of eglantine ! Thou in the freedom of 

nature, 
Full of her beauty and wisdom, gentleness, joyance, and 

kindness ! 
Come, and like bees will we gather the rich golden honey 

of noontide ; 
Deep in the sweet summer meadows, border'd by hillside 

and river. 
Lined with long trenches half-hidden, where smell of white 

meadow-sweet, sweetest. 
Blissfully hovers — sweetest ! but pluck it not ! even in 

the tenderest 
Grasp it will lose breath and wither ; like many, not made 

for a posy. 

See, the sun slopes down the meadows, where all the 

flowers are falling ! 
Falling unhymned; for the nightingale scarce ever 

charms the long twilight : 
Mute with the cares of the nest; only known by a 'chuck, 

chuck,' and dovelike 
Call of content, but the finch and the linnet and blackcap 

pipe loudly. 
Round on the western hill-side warbles the rich-billed ouzel ; 



PASTORALS : 

And the shrill throstle is filling the tangled thickeni] 

copses ; 
Singing o'er hyacinths hid, and most honey'd of flowei 

white field-rose. 
Joy thus to revel all day in the grass of our own belovi 

country ; 
Revel all day, till the lark mounts at eve with his swe 

'tirra-lirra' : 
Trilling delightfully. See, on the river the slow-rippl( 

surface 
Shining ; the slow ripple broadens in circles ; the brig 

surface smoothens ; 
Now it is flat as the leaves of the yet unseen water-lily. 
There dart the lives of a day, ever-varying tacti 

fantastic. 
There, by the wet-mirrored osiers, the emerald wing of tl 

kingfisher 
Flashes, the fish in his beak ! there the dab-chick dive 

and the motion 
Lazily undulates all thro' the tall standing army of rushf 

Joy thus to revel all day, till the twUight turns us hom 

ward ! 
TUl all the lingering deep-blooming splendour of sunset 

over, 
And the one star shines mildly in mellowing hues, like 

spirit 
Sent to assure us that light never dieth, tho' day is no 

buried. 
Saying: to-morrow, to-morrow, few hours intervenin 

that interval 
Tuned by the woodlark in heaven, to-morrow my ser 

blance, far eastward. 
Heralds the day 'tis my mission eternal to seal and 

prophecy. 



84 ■ POEMS 

Come then, and homeward ; passing down the close path 

of the meadows. 
Home like the bees stored with sweetness ; each with a 

lark in the bosom, 
Trilling for ever, and oh ! will yon lark ever cease to sing 

up there? 



TO A SKYLARK 

SKYLARK ! I see thee and call thee joy ! 

Thy wings bear thee up to the breast of the dawn ; 

1 see thee no more, but thy song is still 
The tongue of the heavens to me ! 

Thus are the days when I was a boy ; 

Sweet while I lived in them, dear now they 're gone ; 

I feel them no longer, but still, still 

They tell of the heavens to me. 



SONG 



SONG 



SPBING 



When buds of palm do burst and spread 
Their downy feathers in the lane, 

And orchard blossoms, white and red. 

Breathe Spring delight for Autumn gain; 
And the skylark shakes his wings in the rain ; 

then is the season to look for a bride ! 

Choose her warily, woo her unseen ; 
For the choicest maids are those that hide 

Like dewy violets under the green. 



SONG 

AUTUMN 

When nuts behind the hazel-leaf 

Are brown as the squirrel that hunts them free. 
And the fields are rich with the sun-burnt sheaf, 

'Mid the blue cornflower and the yellowing tree ; 

And the farmer glows and beams in his glee ; 

then is the season to wed thee a bride ! 

Ere the garners are filled and the ale-cups foam ; 
For a smiling hostess is the pride 

And flower of every Harvest Home. 



S6 POEMS 



SORROWS AND JOYS 

Bury thy sorrows, and they shall rise 

As souls to the immortal skies, 

And there look down like mothers' eyes. 

But let thy joys be fresh as flowers, 
That suck the honey of the showers. 
And bloom alike on huts and towers. 

So shall thy days be sweet and bright ; 
Solemn and sweet thy starry night, 
Conscious of love each change of light. 

The stars will watch the flowers asleep, 
The flowers will feel the soft stars weep. 
And both will mix sensations deep. 

With these below, with those above, 
Sits evermore the brooding dove. 
Uniting both in bonds of love. 

For both by nature are akin ; 
Sorrow, the ashen fruit of sin. 
And joy, the juice of life within. 

Children of earth are these ; and those 
The spirits of divine repose — 
Death radiant o'er all human woes. 



SORROWS AND JOYS 87 

0, think what then had been thy doom, 

If homeless and without a tomb 

They had been left to haunt the gloom ! 

0, think again what now they are — 
Motherly love, tho' dim and far, 
Imaged in every lustrous star. 

For they, in their salvation, know 

No vestige of their former woe. 

While thro' them all the heavens do flow. 

Thus art thou wedded to the skies, 
And watched by ever-loving eyes. 
And warned by yearning sympathies. 



88 POEMS 



SONG 

The Flower unfolds its dawning cup, 
And the young sun drinks the star-dews up, 
At eve it droops with the bliss of day, 
And dreams in the midnight far away. 

So am I in thy sole, sweet glance 
Pressed with a weight of utterance ; 
Lovingly all my leaves unfold. 
And gleam to the beams of thirsty gold. 

At eve I droop, for then the swell 
Of feeling falters forth farewell ; — 
At midnight I am dreaming deep. 
Of what has been, in blissful sleep. 

When — ah ! when will love's own light 
Wed me alike thro' day and night, 
When will the stars with their linking charms 
Wake us in each other's arms ? 



SONG 89 



SONG 

Thou to me art such a spring 
As the Arab seeks at eve, 
Thirsty from the shining sands ; 
There to bathe his face and hands, 
While the sun is taking leave, 
And dewy sleep is a delicious thing. 

Thou to me art such a dream 
As he dreams upon the grass, 
While the bubbling coolness near 
Makes sweet music in his ear ; 
And the stars that slowly pass 
In solitary grandeur o'er him gleam. 

Thou to me art such a dawn 
As the dawn whose ruddy kiss 
Wakes him to his darling steed : 
And again the desert speed, 
And again the desert bliss, 
Lightens thro' his veins, and he is gone 1 



90 POEMS 



ANTIGONE 

The buried voice bespake Antigone. 

' O SiSTEB ! couldst thou know, as thou wilt know, 
The bliss above, the reverence below, 
Enkindled by thy sacrifice for me ; 
Thou wouldst at once with holy ecstasy 
Give thy warm limbs into the yearning earth. 
Sleep, Sister ! for Elysium's dawning birth, — 
And faith will fill thee with what is to be ! 
Sleep, for the Gods are watching over thee ! 
Thy dream will steer thee to perform their will, 
As silently their infiuence they instil. 
O Sister ! in the sweetness of thy prime. 
Thy hand has plucked the bitter flower of death ; 
But this will dower thee with Elysian breath. 
That fade into a never-fading clime. 
Dear to the Gods are those that do like thee 
A solemn duty ! for the tyranny 
Of kings is feeble to the soul that dares 
Defy them to fulfil its sacred cares : 
And weak against a mighty will are men. 
0, Torch between two brothers ! in whose gleam 
Our slaughtered House doth shine as one again, 
Tho' severed by the sword ; now may thy dream 
Kindle desire in thee for us, and thou, 
Forgetting not thy lover and his vow. 
Leaving no human memory forgot, 
Shalt cross, not unattended, the dark stream 
Which runs by thee in sleep and ripples not. 



ANTIGONE 91 

The large stars glitter thro' the anxious night, 

And the deep sky broods low to look at thee : 

The air is hush'd and dark o'er land and sea, 

And all is waiting for the morrow light : 

So do thy kindred spirits wait for thee. 

Sister ! soft as on the downward rill. 

Will those first daybeams from the distant hill 

Fall on the smoothness of thy placid brow. 

Like this calm sweetness breathing thro' me now : 

And when the fated sounds shall wake thine eyes, 

Wilt thou, confiding in the supreme will. 

In all thy maiden steadfastness arise. 

Firm to obey and earnest to fulfil ; 

Eemembering the night thou didst not sleep. 

And this same brooding sky beheld thee creep, 

Defiant of unnatural decree. 

To where I lay upon the outcast land ; 

Before the iron gates upon the plain ; 

A wretched, graveless ghost, whose wailing chill 

Came to thy darkened door imploring thee ; 

Yearning for burial like my brother slain ; — 

And all was dared for love and piety ! 

This thought will nerve again thy virgin hand 

To serve its purpose and its destiny.' 

She woke, they led her forth, and all was still. 



92 POEMS 



Swathed round in mist and crown'd with cloud, 

O Mountain ! hid from peak to base — 

Caught up into the heavens and clasped 

In white ethereal arms that make 

Thy mystery of size sublime ! 

What eye or thought can measure now 

Thy grand dilating loftiness ! 

What giant crest dispute with thee 

Supremacy of air and sky ! 

What fabled height with thee compare ! 

Not those vine-terraced hills that seethe 

The lava in their fiery cusps ; 

Nor that high-climbing robe of snow, 

Whose summits touch the morning star, 

And breathe the thinnest air of life ; 

Nor crocus-couching Ida, warm 

With Juno's latest nuptial lure ; 

Nor Tenedos whose dreamy eye 

Still looks upon beleaguered Troy; 

Nor yet Olympus crown'd with gods 

Can boast a majesty like thine, 

O Mountain ! hid from peak to base, 

And image of the awful power 

With which the secret of all things. 

That stoops from heaven to garment earth, 

Can speak to any human soul. 

When once the earthly limits lose 

Their pointed heights and sharpened lines, 

And measureless immensity 

Is palpable to sense and sight. 



SONG 93 



SONG 

No, no, the falling blossom is no sign 

Of loveliness destroy'd and sorrow mute ; 

The blossom sheds its loveliness divine ; — 
Its mission is to prophecy the fruit. 

Nor is the day of love for ever dead. 

When young enchantment and romance are 
gone; 
The veil is drawn, but all the future dread 

Is lightened by the finger of the dawn. 

Love moves with life along a darker way, 

They cast a shadow and they call it death : 

But rich is the fulfilment of their day; 

The purer passion and the firmer faith. 



94 POEMS 



THE TWO BLACKBIRDS 

A Blackbird in a wicker cage, 

That hung and swung 'mid fruits and flowers. 
Had learnt the song-charm, to assuage 

The drearness of its wingless hours. 

And ever when the song was heard, 

From trees that shade the grassy plot 

Warbled another glossy bird. 

Whose mate not long ago was shot. 

Strange anguish in that creature's breast, 
Unwept like human grief, unsaid. 

Has quickened in its lonely nest 
A living impulse from the dead. 

Not to console its own wild smart, — 
But with a kindling instinct strong. 

The novel feeling of its heart 

Beats for the captive bird of song. 

And when those mellow notes are still. 

It hops from off its choral perch, 
O'er path and sward, with busy bill, 

AH grateful gifts to peck and search. 

Store of ouzel dainties choice 

To those white swinging bars it brings ; 
And with a low consoling voice 

It talks between its fluttering wings. 



THE TWO BLACKBIRDS 95 

Deeply in their bitter grief 

Those sufferers reciprocate, 
The one sings for its woodland life, 

The other for its murdered mate. 

But deeper doth the secret prove, 

Uniting those sad creatures so ; 
Humanity's great link of love, 

The common sympathy of woe. 

Well divined from day to day 

Is the swift speech between them twain ; 
For when the bird is scared away. 

The captive bursts to song again. 

Yet daily with its flattering voice. 

Talking amid its fluttering wings. 
Store of ouzel dainties choice 

With busy bill the poor bird brings. 

And shall I say, till weak with age 

Down from its drowsy branch it drops. 

It will not leave that captive cage. 

Nor cease those busy searching hops ? 

Ah, no ! the moral will not strain ; 

Another sense will make it range. 
Another mate will soothe its pain. 

Another season work a change. 

But thro' the live-long summer, tried, 

A pure devotion we may see ; 
The ebb and flow of Nature's tide ; 

A self-forgetful sympathy. 



96 POEMS 



JULY 



Blue July, bright July, 

Month of storms and gorgeous blue ; 
Violet lightnings o'er thy sky, 

Heavy falls of drenching dew ; 
Summer crown ! o'er glen and glade 
Shrinking hyacinths in their shade ; 
I welcome thee with all thy pride, 
I love thee like an Eastern bride. 

Though all the singing days are done 

As in those climes that clasp the sun ; 

Though the cuckoo in his throat 

Leaves to the dove his last twin note ; 
Come to me with thy lustrous eye. 
Golden-dawning oriently. 
Come with all thy shining blooms. 
Thy rich red rose and rolling glooms. 

Though the cuckoo doth but sing 'cuk, cuk,' 
And the dove alone doth coo ; 

Though the cushat spins her coo-r-roo, r-r-roo- 
To the cuckoo's halting 'cuk.' 



II 

Sweet July, warm July ! 

Month when mosses near the stream. 
Soft green mosses thick and shy. 

Are a rapture and a dream. 



JULY 

Summer Queen ! whose foot the fern 
Fades beneath while chestnuts burn ; 
I welcome thee with thy fierce love, 
Gloom below and gleam above. 

Though all the forest trees hang dumb, 

With dense leafiness o'ercome ; 

Though the nightingale and thrush, 

Pipe not from the bough or bush ; 
Come to me with thy lustrous eye, 
Azure-melting westerly. 
The raptures of thy face unfold, 
And welcome in thy robes of gold ! 

Tho' the nightingale broods — 'sweet-chuck-sweet'- 
And the ouzel flutes so chill, 

Tho' the throstle gives but one shrilly trill 
To the nightingale's ' sweet-sweet.' 



98 POEMS 



SONG 

I WOULD I were the drop of rain 
That falls into the dancing rill, 

For I should seek the river then, 
And roll below the wooded hill, 
Until I reached the sea. 

An 1 0, to be the river swift 

That wrestles with the wilful tide. 
And fling the briny weeds aside 

That o'er the foamy billows drift, 
Until I came to thee ! 

I would that after weary strife, 

And storm beneath the piping wind. 

The current of my true fresh life 

Might come unmingled, unimbrined, 
To where thou floatest free. 

Might find thee in some amber clime, 
Where sunlight dazzles on the sail. 
And dreaming of our plighted vale 

Might seal the dream, and bless the time, 
With maiden kisses three. 



SONG /99 



SONG 



Comb to me in any shape ! 

As a victor crown'd with vine, 
In thy curls the clustering grape, — 

Or a vanquished slave : 
'Tis thy coming that I crave. 

And thy folding serpent twine. 
Close and dumb ; 
Ne'er from that would I escape ; 
Come to me in any shape ! 
Only come ! 

Only come, and in my breast 

Hide thy shame or show thy pride ; 
In my bosom be caressed. 

Never more to part ; 
Come into my yearning heart ; 
I, the serpent, golden-eyed. 
Twine round thee ; 
Twine thee with no venomed test ; 
Absence makes the venomed nest ; 
Come to me ! 

Come to me, my lover, come ! 

Violets on the tender stem 
Die and wither in their bloom, 

Under dewy grass ; 
Come, my lover, or, alas ! 

I shall die, shall die like them. 
Frail and lone ; 
Come to me, my lover, come ! 
Let thy bosom be my tomb : 
Come, my own ! 



100 POEMS 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 

Swept from his fleet upon that fatal night 

When great Poseidon's sudden-veering wrath 

Scattered the happy homeward-floating Greeks 

Like foam-flakes off the waves, the King of Crete 

Held lofty commune with the dark Sea-god. 

His brows were crowned with victory, his cheeks 

Were flushed with triumph, but the mighty joy 

Of Troy's destruction and his own great deeds 

Passed, for the thoughts of home were dearer now, 

And sweet the memory of wife and child. 

And weary now the ten long, foreign years, 

And terrible the doubt of short delay — 

More terrible, Gods ! he cried, but stopped ; 

Then raised his voice upon the storm and prayed. 

O thou, if injured, injured not by me, 

Poseidon ! whom sea-deities obey 

And mortals worship, hear me ! for indeed 

It was our oath to aid the cause of Greece, 

Not unespoused by Gods, and most of all 

By thee, if gentle currents, havens calm. 

Fair winds and prosperous voyage, and the Shape 

Impersonate in many a perilous hour. 

Both in the stately councils of the Kings, 

And when the husky battle murmured thick. 

May testify of services performed ! 

But now the seas are haggard with thy wrath, 

Thy breath is tempest ! never at the shores 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 10 

Of hostile Ilium did thy stormful brows 

Betray such fierce magnificence ! not even 

On that wild day when, mad with torch and glare, 

The frantic crowds with eyes like starving wolves 

Burst from their ports impregnable, a stream 

Of headlong fury toward the hissing deep ; 

Where then full-armed I stood in guard, compact 

Beside thee, and alone, with brand and spear, 

We held at bay the swarming brood, and poured 

Blood of choice warriors on the foot-ploughed sands ! 

Thou, meantime, dark with conflict, as a cloud 

That thickens in the bosom of the West 

Over quenched simset, circled round with flame, 

Huge as a billow running from the winds 

Long distances, till with black shipwreck swoln, 

It flings its angry mane about the sky. 

And like that billow heaving ere it burst ; 

And like that cloud urged by impulsive storm 

With charge of thunder, lightning, and the drench 

Of torrents, thou in all thy majesty 

Of mightiness didst fall upon the war ! 

Remember that great moment ! Nor forget 

The aid I gave thee ; how my ready spear 

Flew swiftly seconding thy mortal stroke, 

Where'er the press was hottest ; never slacked 

My arm its duty, nor mine eye its aim. 

Though terribly they compassed us, and stood 

Thick as an Autumn forest, whose brown hair, 

Lustrous with sunlight, by the still increase 

Of heat to glowing heat conceives like zeal 

Of radiance, till at the pitch of noon 

'Tis seized with conflagration and distends 

Horridly over leagues of doom'd domain ; 

Mingling the screams of birds, the cries of brutes. 

The wail of creatures in the covert pent. 



102 POEMS 

Howls, yells, and shrieks of agony, the hiss 
Of seething sap, and crash of falling boughs 
Together in its dull voracious roar. 

So closely and so fearfully they throng'd. 
Savage with phantasies of victory, 
A sea of dusky shapes ; for day had passed 
And night fell on their darkened faces, red 
With fight and torchflare ; shrill the resonant air 
With eager shouts, and hoarse with angry groans ; 
While over all the dense and sullen boom. 
The din and murmur of the myriads. 
Rolled with its awful intervals, as though 
The battle breathed, or as against the shore 
Waves gather back to heave themselves anew. 
That night sleep dropped not from the dreary skies. 
Nor could the prowess of our chiefs oppose 
That sea of raging men. But what were they ? 
Or what is man opposed to thee ? His hopes 
Are wrecks, himself the drowning, drifting weed 
That wanders on thy waters ; such as I 
Who see the scattered remnants of my fleet, 
Remembering the day when first we sailed, 
Each glad ship shining like the morning star 
With promise for the world. Oh ! such as I 
Thus darkly drifting on the drowning waves. 
O God of waters ! 'tis a dreadful thing 
To suffer for an evil unrevealed ; 
Dreadful it is to hear the perishing cry 
Of those we love ; the silence that succeeds 
How dreadful ! StUl my trust is fixed on thee 
For those that still remain and for myself. 
And if I hear thy swift foam-snorting steeds 
Drawing thy dusky chariot, as in 
The pauses of the wind I seem to hear. 
Deaf thou art not to my entreating prayer ! 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 10 

Haste then to give us help, for closely now 

Crete whispers in my ears, and all my blood 

Runs keen and warm for home, and I have yearning. 

Such yearning as I never felt before, 

To see again my wife, my little son. 

My Queen, my pretty nursling of five years. 

The darling of my hopes, our dearest pledge 

Of marriage, and our brightest prize of love. 

Whose parting cry rings clearest in my heart. 

lay this horror, much-offended God ! 
And making all as fair and firm as when 
We trusted to thy mighty depths of old, — 

1 vow to sacrifice the first whom Zeus 

Shall prompt to haU us from the white seashore 
And welcome our return to royal Crete, 
An offering, Poseidon, unto thee ! 

Amid the din of elemental strife, 
No voice may pierce but Deity supreme : 
And Deity supreme alone can hear, 
Above the hurricane's discordant shrieks, 
The cry of agonized humanity. 

Not unappeased was He who smites the waves. 
When to his stormy ears the warrior's vow 
Entered, and from his foamy pinnacle 
Tumultuous he beheld the prostrate form, 
And knew the mighty heart. AwhUe he gazed, 
As doubtful of his purpose, and the storm, 
Conscious of that divine debate, withheld 
Its fierce emotion, in the luminous gloom 
Of those so dark irradiating eyes ? 
Beneath whose wavering lustre shone revealed 
The tumult of the purpling deeps, and all 
The throbbing of the tempest, as it paused. 



104 POEMS 

Slowly subsiding, seeming to await 
The sudden signal, as a faithful hound 
Pants with the forepaws stretched before its nose, 
Athwart the greensward, after an eager chase ; 
Its hot tongue thrust to cool, its foamy jaws 
Open to let the swift breath come and go. 
Its quick interrogating eyes fixed keen 
Upon the huntsman's countenance, and ever 
Lashing its sharp impatient tail with haste ; 
Prompt at the slightest sign to scour away. 
And hang itself afresh by the bleeding fangs, 
Upon the neck of some death-singled stag, 
Whose royal antlers, eyes, and stumbling knees 
Will supplicate the Gods in mute despair. 
This time not mute, nor yet in vain this time ! 
For still the burden of the earnest voice 
And all the vivid glories it revoked 
Sank in the God, with that absorbed suspense 
Felt only by the Olympians, whose minds 
Unbounded like our mortal brain, perceive 
All things complete, the end, the aim of all ; 
To whom the crown and consequence of deeds 
Are ever present with the deed itself. 

And now the pouring surges, vast and smooth. 
Grew weary of restraint, and heaved themselves 
Headlong beneath him, breaking at his feet 
With wild importunate cries and angry wail ; 
Like crowds that shout for bread and hunger more. 
And now the surface of their rolling backs 
Was ridged with foam-topt furrows, rising high 
And dashing wildly, like to fiery steeds, 
Fresh from the Thracian or Thessalian plains, 
High-blooded mares just tempering to the bit. 
Whose manes at full-speed stream upon the winds, 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 105 

And in whose delicate nostrils when the gust 

Breathes of their native plains, they ramp and rear. 

Frothing the curb, and bounding from the earth, 

As though the Sun-god's chariot alone 

Were fit to follow in their flashing track. 

Anon with gathering stature to the height 

Of those colossal giants, doomed long since 

To torturous grief and penance, that assailed 

The sky-throned courts of Zeus, and climbing, 

dared 
For once in a world the Olympic wrath, and braved 
The electric spirit which from his clenching hand 
Pierces the dark-veined earth, and with a touch 
Is death to mortals, fearfully they grew ! 
And with like purpose of audacity 
Threatened Titanic fury to the God. 
Such was the agitation of the sea 
Beneath Poseidon's thought-revolving brows, 
Storming for signal. But no signal came. 
And as when men, who congregate to hear 
Some proclamation from the regal fount, 
With eager questioning and anxious phrase 
Betray the expectation of their hearts, 
Till after many hours of fretful sloth, 
Weary with much delay, they hold discourse 
In sullen groups and cloudy masses, stirred 
With rage irresolute and whispering plot. 
Known more by indication than by word. 
And understood alone by those whose minds 
Participate ; — even so the restless waves 
Began to lose all sense of servitude. 
And worked with rebel passions, bursting, now 
To right, and now to left, but evermore 
Subdued with influence, and controlled with dread 
Of that inviolate Authority. 



106 POEMS 

Then, swiftly as he mused, the impetuous God 

Seized on the pausing reins, his coursers plunged, 

His brows resumed the grandeur of their ire ; 

Throughout his vast divinity the deeps 

Concurrent thrUled with action, and away. 

As sweeps a thunder-cloud across the sky 

In harvest-time, preluded by dull blasts ; 

Or some black- visaged whirlwind, whose wide folds 

Rush, wrestling on with all 'twixt heaven and earth, 

Darkling he hurried, and his distant voice, 

Not softened by delay, was heard in tones 

Distinctly terrible, still following up 

Its rapid utterance of tremendous wrath 

With hoarse reverberations ; like the roar 

Of lions when they hunger, and awake 

The sullen echoes from their forest sleep. 

To speed the ravenous noise from hill to hill 

And startle victims ; but more awful. He, 

Scudding across the hills that rise and sink, 

With foam, and splash, and cataracts of spray. 

Clothed in majestic splendour; girt about 

With Sea-gods and swift creatures of the sea ; 

Their briny eyes blind with the showering drops ; 

Their stormy locks, salt tongues, and scaly backs, 

Quivering in harmony with the tempest, fierce 

And eager with tempestuous delight ; — 

He like a moving rock above them all 

Solemnly towering while fitful gleams 

Brake from his dense black forehead, which display'd 

The enduring chiefs as their distracted fleets 

Tossed, toiling with the waters, chmbing high. 

And plunging downward with determined beaks, 

In lurid anguish ; but the Cretan king 

And all his crew were 'ware of under-tides, 

That for the groaning vessel made a path. 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 10 

On which the impending and precipitous waves 
Fell not, nor suck'd to their abysmal gorge. 

O, happy they to feel the mighty God, 

Without his whelming presence near : to feel 

Safety and sweet relief from such despair. 

And gushing of their weary hopes once more 

Within their fond warm hearts, tired limbs, and eyes 

Heavy with much fatigue and want of sleep ! 

Prayers did not lack ; like mountain springs they came 

After the earth has drunk the drenching rains. 

And throws her fresh-born jets into the sun 

With joyous sparkles; — for there needed not 

Evidence more serene of instant grace. 

Immortal mercy ! and the sense which follows 

Divine interposition, when the shock 

Of danger hath been thwarted by the Gods, 

Visibly, and through supplication deep, — 

Rose in them, chiefly in the royal mind 

Of him whose interceding vow had saved. 

Tears from that great heroic soul sprang up ; 

Not painful as in grief, nor smarting keen 

With shame of weeping ; but calm, fresh, and sweet ; 

Such as in lofty spirits rise, and wed 

The nature of the woman to the man ; 

A sight most lovely to the Gods ! They fell 

Like showers of starlight from his stedfast eyes, 

As ever towards the prow he gazed, nor moved 

One muscle, with firm lips and level lids. 

Motionless ; while the winds sang in his ears, 

And took the length of his brown hair in streams 

Behind him. Thus the hours passed, and the oars 

Plied without pause, and nothing but the sound 

Of the dull rowlocks and still watery sough. 

Far off, the carnage of the storm, was heard. 



108 POEMS 

For nothing spake the mariners in their toil, 
And all the captains of the war were dumb : 
Too much oppressed with wonder, too much thrilled 
By their great chieftain's silence, to disturb 
Such meditation with poor human speech. 
Meantime the moon through slips of driving cloud 
Came forth, and glanced athwart the seas a path 
Of dusky splendour, like the Hadean brows. 
When with Elysian passion they behold 
Persephone's complacent hueless cheeks. 
Soon gathering strength and lustre, as a ship 
That swims into some blue and open bay 
With bright full-bosomed sails, the radiant car 
Of Artemis advanced, and on the waves 
Sparkled like arrows from her silver bow 
The keenness of her pure and tender gaze. 

Then, slowly, one by one the chiefs sought rest ; 

The watches being set, and men to relieve 

The rowers at midseason. Fair it was 

To see them as they lay ! Some up the prow, 

Some round the helm, in open-handed sleep ; 

With casques unloosed, and bucklers put aside ; 

The ten years' tale of war upon their cheeks. 

Where clung the salt wet locks, and on their breasts 

Beards, the thick growth of many a proud campaign ; 

And on their brows the bright invisible crown 

Victory sheds from her own radiant form, 

As o'er her favourites' heads she sings and soars. 

But dreams came not so calmly ; as around 

Turbulent shores wild waves and swamping surf 

Prevail, while seaward, on the tranquil deeps, 

R.eign placid surfaces and solemn peace. 

So, from the troubled strands of memory, they 

Launched and were tossed, long ere they found the tides 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 101 

That lead to the gentle bosoms of pure rest. 

And like to one who from a ghostly watch 

In a lone house where murder hath been done, 

And secret violations, pale with stealth 

Emerges, staggering on the first chill gust 

Wherewith the morning greets him, feeling not 

Its balmy freshness on his bloodless cheek, — 

But swift to hide his midnight face afar, 

'Mongst the old woods and timid-glancing flowers 

Hastens, till on the fresh reviving breasts 

Of tender Dryads folded he forgets 

The pallid witness of those nameless things. 

In renovated senses lapt, and joins 

The full, keen joyance of the day, so they 

From sights and sounds of battle smeared with blood, 

And shrieking souls on Acheron's bleak tides, 

And wail of execrating kindred, slid 

Into oblivious slumber and a sense 

Of satiate deliciousness complete. 

Leave them, Muse, in that so happy sleep ! 

Leave them to reap the harvest of their toil. 

While fast in moonlight the glad vessel glides, 

As if instinctive to its forest home. 

O Muse, that in all sorrows and all joys. 

Rapturous bliss and suffering divine, 

Dwellest with equal fervour, in the calm 

Of thy serene philosophy, albeit 

Thy gentle nature is of joy alone, 

And loves the pipings of the happy fields. 

Better than all the great parade and pomp 

Which forms the train of heroes and of kings. 

And sows, too frequently, the tragic seeds 

That choke with sobs thy singing, — turn away 

Thy lustrous eyes back to the oath-bound man ! 



110 POEMS 

For as a shepherd stands above his flock, 
The lofty figure of the king is seen, 
Standing above his warriors as they sleep : 
And still as from a rock grey waters gush, 
While still the rock is passionless and dark. 
Nor moves one feature of its giant face. 
The tears fall from his eyes, and he stirs not. 

And 0, bright Muse ! forget not thou to fold 

In thy prophetic sympathy the thought 

Of him whose destiny has heard its doom : 

The Sacrifice thro' whom the ship is saved. 

Haply that Sacrifice is sleeping now. 

And dreams of glad to-morrows. Haply now, 

His hopes are keenest, and his fervent blood 

Richest with youth, and love, and fond regard ! 

Round him the circle of affections blooms, 

And in some happy nest of home he lives. 

One name oft uttering in delighted ears. 

Mother ! at which the heart of men are kin 

With reverence and yearning. Haply, too. 

That other name, twin holy, twin revered, 

He whispers often to the passing winds 

That blow toward the Asiatic coasts ; 

For Crete has sent her bravest to the war. 

And multitudes pressed forward to that rank, 

Men with sad weeping wives and little ones. 

That other name — O Father ! who art thou, 

Thus doomed to lose the star of thy last days ? 

It may be the sole flower of thy life. 

And that of all who now look up to thee ! 

O Father, Father ! unto thee even now 

Fate cries ; the future with imploring voice 

Cries 'Save me,' 'Save me,' though thou hearest not. 

And thou Sacrifice, foredoomed by Zeus ; 



THE SHIPWRECK OF IDOMENEUS 111 

Even now the dark inexorable deed 

Is dealing its relentless stroke, and vain 

Are prayers, and tears, and struggles, and despair ! 

The mother's tears, the nation's stormful grief, 

The people's indignation and revenge ! 

Vain the last childlike pleading voice for life, 

The quick resolve, the young heroic brow. 

So like, so like, and vainly beautiful ! 

Oh ! whosoe'er ye are the Muse says not. 

And sees not, but the Gods look down on both. 



112 POEMS 



THE LONGEST DAY 

On yonder hills soft twilight dwells 

And Hesper burns where sunset dies, 
Moist and chill the woodland smells 

From the fern-covered hollows uprise ; 

Darkness drops not from the skies, 
But shadows of darkness are flung o'er the vale 

From the boughs of the chestnut, the oak, and 
the elm. 
While night in yon lines of eastern pines 

Preserves alone her inviolate realm 
Against the twilight pale. 

Say, then say, what is this day, 

That it lingers thus with half-closed eyes. 
When the sunset is quenched and the orient ray 

Of the roseate moon doth rise. 

Like a midnight sun o'er the skies ! 
'Tis the longest, the longest of all the glad year. 

The longest in life and the fairest in hue. 
When day and night, in bridal light. 

Mingle their beings beneath the sweet blue, 
And bless the balmy air ! 

Upward to this starry height 

The culminating seasons rolled ; 
On one slope green with spring delight, 

The other with harvest gold. 

And treasures of Autumn untold : 



THE LONGEST DAY 113 

And on this highest throne of the midsummer now 
The waning but deathless day doth dream, 

With a rapturous grace, as tho' from the face 
Of the unveiled infinity, lo, a far beam 

Had fall'n on her dim-flushed brow ! 

Prolong, prolong that tide of song, 

leafy nightingale and thrush ! 
Still, earnest-throated blackcap, throng 

The woods with that emulous gush 

Of notes in tumultuous rush. 
Ye summer souls, raise up one voice ! 

A charm is afloat all over the land ; 
The ripe year doth fall to the Spirit of all, 

Who blesses it with outstretched hand ; 
Ye summer souls, rejoice ! 



114 POEMS 

TO ROBIN REDBREAST 

Merrily 'mid the faded leaves, 

Robin of the bright red breast ! 
Cheerily over the Autumn eaves, 

Thy note is heard, bonny bird ; 
Sent to cheer us, and kindly endear us 

To what would be a sorrowful time 

Without thee in the weltering clime : 

Merry art thou in the boughs of the lime. 

While thy fadeless waistcoat glows on thy breast, 
In Autumn's reddest livery drest. 

A merry song, a cheery song ! 

In the boughs above, on the sward below, • 
Chirping and singing the live day long. 

While the maple in grief sheds its fiery leaf, 
And all the trees waning, with bitter complaining, 

Chestnut, and elm, and sycamore. 

Catch the wild gust in their arms, and roar 

Like the sea on a stormy shore. 
Till wailfully they let it go, 
And weep themselves naked and weary with woe. 

Meerily, cheerily, joyously stUl 

Pours out the crimson-crested tide. 

The set of the season burns bright on the hill. 
Where the foliage dead falls yellow and red, 

Picturing vainly, but foretelling plainly 

The wealth of cottage warmth that comes 
When the frost gleams and the blood numbs, 
And then, bonny Robin, I '11 spread thee out crumbs 
In my garden porch for thy redbreast pride, 
The song and the ensign of dear fireside. 



SONG 



SONG 

The daisy now is out upon the green; 

And in the grassy lanes 

The child of April rains, 
The sweet fresh-hearted violet, is smelt and lovi 
unseen. 

Along the brooks and meads, the daffodU 

Its yellow richness spreads. 

And by the fountain-heads 
Of rivers, cowslips cluster round, and over every hill. 

The crocus and the primrose may have gone, 

The snowdrop may be low. 

But soon the purple glow 
Of hyacinths will fill the copse, and lilies watch tl 
dawn. 

And in the sweetness of the budding year. 

The cuckoo's woodland call, 

The skylark over all, 
And then at eve, the nightingale, is doubly sweet ai 
dear. 

My soul is singing with the happy birds. 

And all my human powers 

Are blooming with the flowers, 
My foot is on the fields and downs, among the flocks ai 
herds. 



116 POEMS 

Deep in the forest where the foliage droops, 

I wander, fill'd with joy. 

Again as when a boy. 
The sunny vistas tempt me on with dim dehcious hopes. 

The sunny vistas, dim with hurrying shade. 

And old romantic haze : — 

Again as in past days. 
The spirit of immortal Spring doth every sense pervade. 

Oh ! do not say that this will ever cease ; — 

This joy of woods and fields, 

This youth that nature yields, 
WUl never speak to me in vain, tho' soundly rapt in peace. 



SUNRISE 117 



SUNRISE 

The clouds are withdrawn 
And their thin-rippled mist, 
That stream'd o'er the lawn 
To the drowsy-eyed west. 
Gold and grey 
They slept in the way, 
And shrank from the ray 
Of the chariot East : 
But now they are gone. 
And the bounding light 
Leaps thro' the bars 
Of doubtful dawn ; 
Blinding the stars, 
And blessing the sight ; 
Shedding delight 
On all below ; 
Glimmering fields. 
And wakening wealds. 
And rising lark, 
And meadows dark. 
And idle rUls, 
And labouring mills. 
And far-distant hills 
Of the fawn and the doe. 
The sun is cheered 
And his path is cleared. 
As he steps to the air 
From his emerald cave, 
His heel in the wave. 



118 POEMS 



Most bright and bare ; 

In the tide of the sky 

His radiant hair 

From his temples fair 

Blown back on high ; 

As forward he bends, 

And upward ascends, 

Timely and true. 

To the breast of the blue ; 

His warm red lips 

Kissing the dew, 

Which sweetened drips 

On his flower cupholders ; 

Every hue 

From his gleaming shoulders 

Shining anew 

With colour sky-born, 

As it washes and dips 

In the pride of the morn. 

Robes of azure, 

Fringed with amber. 

Fold upon fold 

Of purple and gold. 

Vine-leaf bloom. 

And the grape's ripe gloom, 

When season deep 

In noontide leisure. 

With clustering heap 

The tendrils clamber 

Full in the face 

Of his hot embrace, 

Fill'd with the gleams 

Of his firmest beams. 

Autumn flushes, 

Roseate blushes, 



SUNRISE 119 

Vermeil tinges, 

Violet fringes, 

Every hue 

Of his flower cupholders. 

O'er the clear ether 

Mingled together. 

Shining anew 

From his gleaming shoulders ! 

Circling about 

In a coronal rout, 

And floating behind. 

The way of the wind, 

As forward he bends. 

And upward ascends, 

Timely and true. 

To the breast of the blue. 

His bright neck curved. 

His clear limbs nerved. 

Diamond keen 

On his front serene, 

While each white arm strains 

To the racing reins. 

As plunging, eyes flashing, 

Dripping, and dashing, 

His steeds triple grown 

Rear up to his throne, 

Ruffling the rest 

Of the sea's blue breast. 

From his flooding, flaming crimson crest ! 



120 POEMS 



PICTURES OF THE RHINE 



The spirit of Romance dies not to those 
Who hold a kindred spirit in their souls : 
Even as the odorous life within the rose 
Lives in the scattered leaflets and controls 
Mysterious adoration, so there glows 
Above dead things a thing that cannot die ; 
Faint as the glimmer of a tearful eye, 
Ere the orb fills and all the sorrow flows. 
Beauty renews itself in many ways ; 
The flower is fading while the new bud blows ; 
And this dear land as true a symbol shows, 
While o'er it like a mellow sunset strays 
The legendary splendour of old days, 
In visible, inviolate repose. 

II 

About a mile behind the viny banks, 
How sweet it was, upon a sloping green, 
Sunspread, and shaded with a branching screen. 
To lie in peace half-murmuring words of thanks ! 
To see the mountains on each other climb, 
With spaces for rich meadows flowery bright ; 
The winding river freshening the sight 
At intervals, the trees in leafy prime ; 
The distant village-roofs of blue and white. 
With intersections of quaint-fashioned beams 
All slanting crosswise, and the feudal gleams 
Of ruined turrets, barren in the light ; — 
To watch the changing clouds, like clime in clime ; 
Oh ! sweet to lie and bless the luxury of time. 



PICTURES OF THE RHINE 



III 

Fresh blows the early breeze, our sail is full ; 
A merry morning and a mighty tide. 
Cheerily ! and past St. Goar we glide, 
Half hid in misty dawn and mountain cool. 
The river is our own ! and now the sun 
In saffron clothes the warming atmosphere ; 
The sky lifts up her white veil like a nun, 
And looks upon the landscape blue and clear ; — 
The lark is up ; the hills, the vines in sight • 
The river broadens with his waking bliss 
And throws up islands to behold the light ; 
Voices begin to rise, all hues to kiss ; — 
Was ever such a happy morn as this ! 
Birds sing, we shout, flowers breathe, trees shine with o: 
delight ! 



IV 

Between the two white breasts of her we love, 
A dewy blushing rose will sometimes spring ; 
Thus Nonnenwerth like an enchanted thing 
Rises mid-stream the crystal depths above. 
On either side the waters heave and swell. 
But all is calm within the little Isle ; 
Content it is to give its holy smile. 
And bless with peace the lives that in it dwell. 
Most dear on the dark grass beneath its bower 
Of kindred trees embracing branch and bough. 
To dream of fairy foot and sudden flower ; 
Or haply with a twilight on the brow. 
To muse upon the legendary hour. 
And Roland's lonely love and Hildegard's sad vow. 



122 POEMS 



Hark ! how the bitter winter breezes blow 
Round the sharp rocks and o'er the half-lifted wave, 
While all the rocky woodland branches rave 
Shrill with the piercing cold, and every cave, 
Along the icy water-margin low, 
Rings bubbling with the whirling overflow ; 
And sharp the echoes answer distant cries 
Of dawning daylight and the dim sunrise. 
And the gloom-coloured clouds that stain the skies 
With pictures of a warmth, and frozen glow 
Spread over endless fields of sheeted snow ; 
And white untrodden mountains shining cold. 
And muffled footpaths winding thro' the wold. 
O'er which those wintry gusts cease not to howl and blow. 



VI 

Rare is the loveliness of slow decay ! 
With youth and beauty all must be desired, 
But 'tis the charm of things long past away, 
They leave, alone, the light they have inspired : 
The calmness of a picture ; Memory now 
Is the sole life among the ruins grey, 
And like a phantom in fantastic play 
She wanders with rank weeds stuck on her brow, 
Over grass-hidden caves and turret-tops, 
Herself almost as tottering as they ; 
While, to the steps of Time, her latest props 
Fall stone by stone, and in the Sun's hot ray 
All that remains stands up in rugged pride. 
And bridal vines drink in his juices on each side. 



TO A NIGHTINGALE 123 



TO A NIGHTINGALE 

NIGHTINGALE ! how hast thou learnt 

The note of the nested dove ? 
While under thy bower the fern hangs burnt 

And no cloud hovers above ! 
Rich July has many a sky 
With splendour dim, that thou mightst hymn, 
And make rejoice with thy wondrous voice, 

And the thrill of thy wild pervading tone ! 
But instead of to woo, thou hast learnt to coo : 
Thy song is mute at the mellowing fruit. 
And the dirge of the flowers is sung by the hours 

In silence and twilight alone. 

nightingale ! 'tis this, 'tis this 

That makes thee mock the dove ! 
That thou hast past thy marriage bliss, 

To know a parent's love. 
The waves of fern may fade and bum, 
The grasses may fall, the flowers and all, 
And the pine-smells o'er the oak dells 

Float on their drowsy and odorous wings. 
But thou wilt do nothing but coo. 
Brimming the nest with thy brooding breast, 
'Midst that young throng of future song. 

Round whom the Future sings ! 



124 POEMS 



INVITATION TO THE COUNTRY 

Now 'tis Spring on wood and wold, 

Early Spring that shivers with cold, 

But gladdens, and gathers, day by day, 

A lovelier hue, a warmer ray, . 

A sweeter song, a dearer ditty ; 

Ouzel and throstle, new-mated and gay. 

Singing their bridals on every spray — 

Oh, hear them, deep in the songless Gity ! 

Cast off the yoke of toil and smoke, 

As Spring is casting winter's grey. 

As serpents cast their skins away : 

And come, for the Country awaits thee with pity 

And longs to bathe thee in her delight. 

And take a new joy in thy kindling sight ; 

And I no less, by day and night. 

Long for thy coming, and watch for, and wait thee. 

And wonder what duties can thus belate thee. 

Dry-fruited firs are dropping their cones, 
And vista' d avenues of pines 
Take richer green, give fresher tones. 
As morn after morn the glad sun shines. 

Primrose tufts peep over the brooks. 

Fair faces amid moist decay ! 

The rivulets run with the dead leaves at play, 

The leafless elms are alive with the rooks. 



INVITATION TO THE COUNTRY 12, 

Over the meadows the cowslips are springing, 
The marshes are thick with king-cup gold, 
Clear is the cry of the lambs in the fold, 
The skylark is singing, and singing, and singing. 

Soon comes the cuckoo when April is fair. 
And her blue eye the brighter the more it may weep : 
The frog and the butterfly wake from their sleep. 
Each to its element, water and air. 

Mist hangs still on every hill. 

And curls up the valleys at eve ; but noon 

Is fullest of Spring ; and at midnight the moon 

Gives her westering throne to Orion's bright zone, 

As he slopes o'er the darkened world's repose ; 

And a lustre in eastern Sirius glows. 

Come, in the season of opening buds ; 
Come, and molest not the otter that whistles 
Unlit by the moon, 'mid the wet winter bristles 
Of willow, half-drowned in the fattening floods. 
Let him catch his cold fish without fear of a gun, 
And the stars shall shield him, and thou wilt shun ! 
And every little bird under the sun 
Shall know that the bounty of Spring doth dwell 
In the winds that blow, in the waters that run, 
And in the breast of man as well. 



126 POEMS 



THE SWEET 0' THE YEAR 

Now the frog, all lean and weak, 

Yawning from his famished sleep. 
Water in the ditch doth seek, 

Fast as he can stretch and leap : 
Marshy king-cups burning near 
Tell him 'tis the sweet o' the year. 

Now the ant works up his mound 

In the mouldered piny soil. 
And above the busy ground 

Takes the joy of earnest toil : 

Dropping pine-cones, dry and sere, 
Warn him 'tis the sweet o' the year. 

Now the chrysalis on the wall 

Cracks, and out the creature springs. 
Raptures in his body small, » 
Wonders on his dusty wings : 

Bells and cups, all shining clear. 
Show him 'tis the sweet o' the year. 

Now the brown bee, wild and wise, 

Hums abroad, and roves and roams. 
Storing in his wealthy thighs 

Treasure for the golden combs : 
Dewy buds and blossoms dear 
Whisper 'tis the sweet o' the year. 



THE SWEET 0' THE YEAR 127 

Now the merry maids so fair 

Weave the wreaths and choose the queen, 
Blooming in the open air, 

Like fresh flowers upon the green ; 
Spring, in every thought sincere, 
Thrills them with the sweet o' the year. 

Now the lads, all quick and gay, 

Whistle to the browsing herds. 
Or in the twilight pastures grey 

Learn the use of whispered words : 
First a blush, and then a tear. 
And then a smile, i' the sweet o' the year. 

Now the May-fly and the fish 

Play again from noon to night ; 
Every breeze begets a wish. 

Every motion means delight : 

Heaven high over heath and mere 
Crowns with blue the sweet o' the year. 

Now all Nature is alive. 

Bird and beetle, man and mole ; 
Bee-like goes the human hive, 

Lark-like sings the soaring soul : 
Hearty faith and honest cheer 
Welcome in the sweet o' the year. 



128 POEMS 



AUTUMN EVEN-SONG 

The long cloud edged with streaming grey 

Soars from the West ; 
The red leaf mounts with it away, 

Showing the nest 
A blot among the branches bare : 
There is a cry of outcasts in the air. 

Swift little breezes, darting chill. 

Pant down the lake ; 
A crow flies from the yellow hill. 

And in its wake 
A bafHed line of labouring rooks : 
Steel-surfaced to the light the river looks. 

Pale on the panes of the old hall 

Gleams the lone space 
Between the sunset and the squall ; 

And on its face 
Mournfully glimmers to the last : 
Great oaks grow mighty minstrels in the blast. 

Pale the rain-rutted roadways shine 

In the green light 
Behind the cedar and the pine : 

Come, thundering night ! 
Blacken broad earth with hoards of storm : 
For me yon valley-cottage beckons warm. 



THE SONG OF COURTESY 129 



THE SONG OF COURTESY 



When Sir Gawain was led to his bridal-bed, 
By Arthur's knights in scorn God-sped : — 
How think you he felt ? 

the bride within 
Was yellow and dry as a snake's old skin ; 

Loathly as sin ! 

Scarceably faceable, 

Quite unembraceable ; 
With a hog's bristle on a hag's chin ! — 
Gentle Gawain felt as should we, 
Little of Love's soft fire knew he : 
But he was the Knight of Courtesy. 



II 

When that evil lady he lay beside 
Bade him turn to greet his bride, 
What think you he did ? 

0, to spare her pain. 
And let not his loathing her loathliness vain 

Mirror too plain. 

Sadly, sighingly. 

Almost dyingly, 
Turned he and kissed her once and again. 
Like Sir Gawain, gentles, should we ? 
Silent, all ! But for pattern agree 
There 's none like the Knight of Courtesy. 



130 POEMS 



III 



Sir Gawain sprang up amid laces and curls : 
Kisses are not wasted pearls : — 
What clung in his arms ? 

O, a maiden flower, 
Burning with blushes the sweet bride-bower, 

Beauty her dower ! 

Breathing .perfumingly ; 

Shall I live bloomingly. 
Said she, by day, or the bridal hour? 
Thereat he clasped her, and whispered he, 
Thine, rare bride, the choice shall be. 
Said she. Twice blest is Courtesy ! 



IV 

Of gentle Sir Gawain they had no sport, 
When it was morning in Arthur's court ; 
What think you they cried ? 

Now, life and eyes ! 
This bride is the very Saint's dream of a prize, 

Fresh from the skies ! 

See ye not, Courtesy 

Is the true Alchemy, 
Turning to gold all it touches and tries ? 
Like the true knight, so may we 
Make the basest that there be 
Beautiful by Courtesy ! 



THE THREE MAIDENS 131 



THE THREE MAIDENS 

There were three maidens met on the highway ; 

The sun was down, the night was late : 
And two sang loud with the birds of May, 

the nightingale is merry with its mate. 

Said they to the youngest. Why walk you there so still ? 

The land is dark, the night is late : 
0, but the heart in my side is ill. 

And the nightingale will languish for its mate. 

Said they to the yoimgest, Of lovers there is store ; 

The moon mounts up, the night is late : 
0, I shall look on man no more. 

And the nightingale is dumb without its mate. 

Said they to the youngest, Uncross your arms and sing ; 

The moon mounts high, the night is late : 
O my dear lover can hear no thing. 

And the nightingale sings only to its mate. 

They slew him in revenge, and his true-love was his lure ; 

The moon is pale, the night is late : 
His grave is shallow on the moor ; 

O the nightingale is dying for its mate. 

His blood is on his breast, and the moss-roots at his hair ; 

The moon is chill, the night is late : 
But I will lie beside him there : 

the nightingale is dying for its mate. 



132 POEMS 



OVER THE HILLS 

The old hound wags his shaggy tail, 

And I know what he would say : 
It 's over the hills we 'U bound, old hound. 

Over the hills, and away. 

There 's nought for us here save to count the clock, 

And hang the head all day : 
But over the hills we '11 bound, old hound. 

Over the hUls and away. 

Here among men we 're like the deer 

That yonder is our prey : 
So, over the hills we '11 bound, old hound. 

Over the hills and away. 

The hypocrite is master here, 

But he 's the cock of clay : 
So, over the hills we '11 bound, old hound. 

Over the hills and away. 

The women, they shall sigh and smile, 

And madden whom they may : 
It 's over the hills we '11 bound, old hound, 

Over the hills and away. 



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OVER THE HILLS 133 

The torrent glints under the rowan red, 

And shakes the bracken spray : 
What joy on the heather to bound, old hound, 

Over the hills and away. 

The sun bursts broad, and the heathery bed 

Is purple, and orange, and grey : 
Away, and away, we '11 bound, old hound, 

Over the hills and away. 



134 POEMS 



JUGGLING JERRY 



Pitch here the tent, while the old horse grazes : 

By the old hedge-side we '11 halt a stage. 
It 's nigh my last above the daisies : 

My next leaf '11 be man's blank page. 
Yes, my old girl ! and it 's no use crying : 

Juggler, constable, king, must bow. 
One that outjuggles all 's been spying 

Long to have me, and he has me now. 



II 

We 've travelled times to this old common : 

Often we 've hung our pots in the gorse. 
We 've had a stirring life, old woman ! 

You, and I, and the old grey horse. 
Races, and fairs, and royal occasions, 

Found us coming to their call : 
Now they '11 miss us at our stations : 

There 's a Juggler outjuggles all ! 



Ill 



JUGGLING JERRY 135 

Ay, when we 're strong, and braced, and manful, 
Life 's a sweet fiddle : but we 're a batch 

Born to become the Great Juggler's han'ful : 
Balls he shies up, and is safe to catch. 



IV 

Here 's where the lads of the village cricket : 

I was a lad not wide from here : 
Couldn't I whip off the bail from the wicket? 

Like an old world those days appear ! 
Donkey, sheep, geese, and thatched ale-house — I know 
them! 

They are old friends of my halts, and seem. 
Somehow, as if kind thanks I owe them : 

Juggling don't hinder the heart's esteem. 



Juggling 's no sin, for we must have victual : 

Nature allows us to bait for the fool. ' 

Holding one's own makes us juggle no little; 

But, to increase it, hard juggling 's the rule. 
You that are sneering at my profession. 

Haven't you juggled a vast amount? 
There 's the Prime Minister, in one Session, 

Juggles more games than my sins '11 count. 



VI 

I 've murdered insects with mock thunder : 
Conscience, for that, in. men don't quail. 

I 've made bread from the bump of wonder : 
That 's my business, and there 's my tale. 



136 POEMS 

Fashion and rank all praised the professor : 
Ay ! and I 've had my smile from the Queen 

Bravo, Jerry ! she meant : God bless her ! 
Ain't this a sermon on that scene? 



VII 

I 've studied men from my topsy-turvy 

Close, and, I reckon, rather true. 
Some are fine fellows : some, right scurvy : 

Most, a dash between the two. 
But it 's a woman, old girl, that makes me 

Think more kindly of the race : 
And it 's a woman, old girl, that shakes me 

When the Great Juggler I must face. 



VIII 

We two were married, due and legal : 

Honest we 've lived since we 've been one. 
Lord ! I could then jump like an eagle : 

You danced bright as a bit o' the sun. 
Birds in a May-bush we were ! right merry ! 

All night we kiss'd, we juggled all day. 
Joy was the heart of Juggling Jerry ! 

Now from his old girl he 's juggled away. 



IX 



JUGGLING JERRY 137 

Parson and Doctor ! — don't they love rarely 
Fighting the devil in other men's fields ! 

Stand up yourself and match him fairly : 
Then see how the rascal yields ! 



I, lass, have lived no gipsy, flaunting 

Finery while his poor helpmate grubs : 
Coin I 've stored, and you won't be wanting : 

You sha'n't beg from the troughs and tubs. 
Nobly you 've stuck to me, though in his kitchen 

Many a Marquis would hail you Cook ! 
Palaces you could have ruled and grown rich in, 

But your old Jerry you never forsook. 



XI 

Hand up the chirper! ripe ale winks in it; 

Let 's have comfort and be at peace. 
Once a stout draught made me light as a linnet. 

Cheer up ! the Lord must have his lease. 
May be — ^for none see in that black hollow — 

It 's just a place where we 're held in pawn, 
And, when the Great Juggler makes as to swallow, 

It 's just the sword-trick — I ain't quite gone ! 



xn 

Yonder came smells of the gorse, so nutty, 
Gold-like and warm : it 's the prime of May. 

Better than mortar, brick and putty, 
Is God's house on a blowing day. 



138 POEMS 

Lean me more up the mound ; now I feel it : 
All the old heath-smells ! Ain't it strange? 

There 's the world laughing, as if to conceal it, 
But He 's by us, juggling the change. 



XIII 

I mind it well, by the sea-beach lying, 

Once — it 's long gone — when two gulls we beheld, 
Which, as the moon got up, were flying 

Down a big wave that sparked and swelled. 
Crack, went a gun : one fell : the second 

Wheeled round him twice, and was off for new luck : 
There in the dark her white wing beckon'd : — 

Drop me a kiss — I 'm the bird dead-struck ! 



THE CROWN OF LOVE 139 



THE CROWN OF LOVE 

O MIGHT I load my arms with thee, 
Like that young lover of Romance 

Who loved and gained so gloriously 
The fair Princess of France ! 

Because he dared to love so high, 

He, bearing her dear weight, shall speed 

To where the mountain touched on sky : 
So the proud king decreed. 

Unhalting he must bear her on. 

Nor pause a space to gather breath. 

And on the height she will be won ; — 
And she was won in death ! 

Red the far summit flames with mom. 
While in the plain a glistening Court 

Surrounds the king who practised scorn 
Through such a mask of sport. 

She leans into his arms ; she lets 

Her lovely shape be clasped : he fares. 

God speed him whole ! The knights make bets ; 
The ladies lift soft prayers. 

O have you ^een the deer at chase ? 

O have you seen the woimded kite ? 
So boundingly he runs the race, 

So wavering grows his flight. 



140 POEMS 

— My lover ! linger here, and slake 

Thy thirst, or me thou wilt not win. 

— See'st thou the tumbled heavens ? they break ! 
They beckon us up and in. 

— ^Ah, hero-love ! unloose thy hold : 

O drop me like a cursed thing. 
—See'st thou the crowded swards of gold? 

They wave to us Rose and Ring. 

— death- white mouth ! cast me down ! 

Thou diest ? Then with thee I die. 
— See'st thou the angels with their Crown? 

We twain have reached the sky. 



THE HEAD OF BRAN THE BLEST 141 



THE HEAD OF BRAN THE BLEST 



When the Head of Bran 

Was firm on British shoulders, 
God made a man ! 

Cried all beholders. 

Steel could not resist 

The weight his arm would rattle ; 
He, with naked fist, 

Has brain'd a knight in battle. 

He marched on the foe, 

And never counted numbers ; 
Foreign widows know 

The hosts he sent to slumbers. 

As a street you scan. 

That 's towered by the steeple, 
So the Head of Bran 

Rose o'er his people. 

II 

' Death 's my neighbour,' 

Quoth Bran the Blest ; 
' Christian labour 

Brings Christian rest. 
From the trunk sever 

The Head of Bran, 
That which never 

Has bent to man ! 



142 POEMS 

'That which never 

To men has bowed 
Shall live ever 

To shame the shroud : 
Shall live ever 

To face the foe ; 
Sever it, sever, 

And with one blow. 

'Be it written, 

That all I wrought 
Was for Britain, 

In deed and thought : 
Be it written. 

That while I die. 
Glory to Britain ! 

Is my last cry. 

Glory to Britain ! 

Death echoes me round. 
Glory to Britain ! 

The world shall resound. 
Glory to Britain ! 

In ruin and fall, 
Glory to Britain ! 

Is heard over all.' 



Ill 
Burn, Sun, down the sea ! 

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THE HEAD OF BRAN THE BLEST 143 

Blow, Wind, from the field ! 
Bran's Head is the Briton's shield. 

Beam, Star, in the West ! 

Bright burns the Head of Bran the Blest. 



IV 

Crimson-footed, like the stork. 

From great ruts of slaughter. 
Warriors of the Golden Torque 

Cross the lifting water. 
Princes seven, enchaining hands. 

Bear the live head homeward. 
Lo ! it speaks, and stUl commands : 

Gazing out far foamward. 

Fiery words of lightning sense 

Down the hollows thunder ; 
Forest hostels know not whence 

Comes the speech, and wonder. 
City-Castles, on the steep, 

Where the faithful Seven 
House at midnight, hear, in sleep. 

Laughter under heaven. 

Lilies, swimming on the mere, 

In the castle shadow. 
Under draw their heads, and Fear 

Walks the misty meadow. 
Tremble not ! it is not Death 

Pledging dark espousal : 
'Tis the Head of endless breath, 

Challenging carousal ! 



144 POEMS 

Brim the horn ! a health is drunk, 

Now, that shall keep going : 
Life is but the pebble sunk ; 

Deeds, the circle growing ! 
Fill, and pledge the Head of Bran ! 

While his lead they follow, 
Long shall heads in Britain plan 

Speech Death cannot swallow ! 



THE MEETING 145 



THE MEETING 

The old coach-road through a common of furze, 

With knolls of pine, ran white ; 
Berries of autumn, with thistles, and burrs, 

And spider-threads, droop'd in the light. 

The light in a thin blue veil peered sick ; 

The sheep grazed close and still ; 
The smoke of a farm by a yellow rick 

Curled lazily under a hill. 

No fly shook the round of the silver net ; 

No insect the swift bird chased ; 
Only two travellers moved and met 

Across that hazy waste. 

One was a girl with a babe that throve, 

Her ruin and her bliss ; 
One was a youth with a lawless love. 

Who clasped it the more for this. 

The girl for her babe hummed prayerful speech ; 

The youth for his love did pray ; 
Each cast a wistful look on each, 

And either went their way. 



146 POEMS 



THE BEGGAR'S SOLILOQUY 



Now, this, to my notion, is pleasant cheer, 

To lie all alone on a ragged heath. 
Where your nose isn't sniffing for bones or beer, 

But a peat-fire smells like a garden beneath. 
The cottagers bustle about the door. 

And the girl at the window ties her strings. 
She 's a dish for a man who 's a mind to be poor ; 
• Lord ! women are such expensive things. 

II 

We don't marry beggars, says she : why, no : 

It seems that to make 'em is what you do ; 
And as I can cook, and scour, and sew, 

I needn't pay half my victuals for you. 
A man for himself should be able to scratch. 

But tickling 's a luxury : — love, indeed ! 
Love burns as long as the lucifer match. 

Wedlock 's the candle ! Now, that 's my creed. 

Ill 



THE BEGGAR'S SOLILOQUY 147 

Unless, like me, you lie here flat, 

With a donkey for friend, you must have a wife : 
She pulls out your hair, but she brushes your hat. 

Appearances make the best half of life. 



IV 

You nice little madam ! you know you 're nice. 

I remember hearing a parson say 
You 're a plateful of vanity pepper'd with vice ; 

Yon chap at the gate thinks t' other way. 
On his waistcoat you read both his head and his heart : 

There 's a whole week's wages there figured in gold ! 
Yes ! when you turn round you may well give a start : 

It 's fun to a fellow who 's getting old. 



Now, that 's a good craft, weaving waistcoats and flowers. 

And selling of ribbons, and scenting of lard : 
It gives you a house to get in from the showers. 

And food when your appetite jockeys you hard. 
You live a respectable man ; but I ask 

If it 's worth the trouble ? You use your tools, 
And spend your time, and what 's your task ? 

Why, to make a slide for a couple of fools. 

VI 

You can't match the colour o' these heath mounds, 

Nor better that peat-fire's agreeable smell. 
I 'm clothed-like with natural sights and sounds ; 

To myself I 'm in tune : I hope you 're as well. 
You jolly old cot ! though you don't own coal : 

It 's Sb generous pot that 's boiled with peat. 
Let the Lord Mayor o' London roast oxen whole : 

His smoke, at least, don't smell so sweet. 



148 POEMS 

VII 

I 'm not a low Radical, hating the laws, 

Who 'd the aristocracy rebuke. 
I talk o' the Lord Mayor o' London because 

I once was on intimate terms with his cook. 
I served him a turn, and got pensioned on scraps, 

And, Lord, Sir ! didn't I envy his place, 
Till Death knock'd him down with the softest of taps, 

And I knew what was meant by a tallowy face ! 

VIII 

On the contrary, I 'm Conservative quite ; 

There 's beggars in Scripture 'mongst Gentiles and 
Jews: 
It 's nonsense, trying to set things right. 

For if people will give, why, who '11 refuse ? 
That stopping old custom wakes my spleen : 

The poor and the rich both in giving agree : 
Your tight-fisted shopman 's the Radical mean : 

There 's nothing in common 'twixt him and me. 

IX 

He says I 'm no use ! but I won't reply. 

You 're lucky not being of use to him ! 
On week-days he 's playing at Spider and Fly, 

And on Sundays he sings about Cherubim ! 
Nailing shillings to counters is his chief work : 

He nods now and then at the name on his door : 
But judge of us two, at a bow and a smirk, 

I think I 'm his match : and I 'm honest — ^that 's 



THE BEGGAR'S SOLILOQUY 149 

Mr. Shopman, he 's nought but a pipe and a spout 
Who won't let the goods o' this world pass free. 

This blazing blue weather all round the brown crop, 
He can't enjoy ! all but cash he hates. 

He 's only a snail that crawls under his shop ; 
Though he has got the ear o' the magistrates. 

XI 

Now, giving and taking 's a proper exchange. 

Like question and answer : you 're both content. 
But buying and selling seems always strange ; 

You 're hostile, and that 's the thing that 's meant. 
It 's man against man — you 're almost brutes ; 

There 's here no thanks, and there 's there no 
pride. 
If Charity 's Christian, don't blame my pursuits, 

I carry a touchstone by which you 're tried. 

XII 

— 'Take it,' says she, 'it 's aU I 've got' : 

I remember a girl in London streets : 
She stood by a coffee-stall, nice and hot, 

My belly was like a lamb that bleats. 
Says I to myself, as her shilling I seized. 

You haven't a character here, my dear ! 
But for making a rascal like me so pleased, 

I '11 give you one, in a better sphere ! 

XIII 

And that 's where it is — she made me feel 

I was a rascal : but people who scorn, 
And tell a poor patch-breech he isn't genteel, 

Why, they make him kick up — and he treads on a 
corn. 



150 POEMS 

It isn't liking, it 's curst ill-luck, 

Drives half of us into the begging-trade : 

If for taking to water you praise a duck. 
For taking to beer why a man upbraid ? 

XIV 

The sermon 's over : they 're out of the porch, 

And it 's time for me to move a leg ; 
But in general people who come from church. 

And have called themselves sinners, hate chaps to beg. 
I '11 wager they '11 all of 'em dine to-day ! 

I was easy half a minute ago. 
If that isn't pig that 's baking away. 

May I perish ! — we 're never contented — heigho ! 



BY THE ROSANNA 151 



BY THE ROSANNA 

TO F. M. 

Stanzek Thal, Tthol. 

The old grey Alp has caught the cloud, 

And the torrent river sings aloud ; 

The glacier-green Rosanna sings 

An organ song of its upper springs. 

Foaming under the tiers of pine, 

I see it dash down the dark ravine. 

And it tumbles the rocks in boisterous play. 

With an earnest will to find its way. 

Sharp it throws out an emerald shoulder. 

And, thundering ever of the mountain, 
Slaps in sport some giant boulder. 

And tops it in a silver fountain. 
A chain of foam from end to end. 
And a solitude so deep, my friend. 
You may forget that man abides 
Beyond the great mute mountain-sides. 
Yet to me, in this high-walled solitude 
Of river and rock and forest rude, 
The roaring voice through the long white chain 
Is the voice of the world of bubble and brain. 



152 POEMS 



PHANTASY 



Within a Temple of the Toes, 

Where twirled the passionate WHi, 

I saw full many a market rose, 
And sighed for my village lily. 

II 

With cynical Adrian then I took flight 
To that old dead city whose carol 

Bursts out like a reveller's loud in the night. 
As he sits astride his barrel. 

Ill 

We two were bound the Alps to scale. 

Up the rock-reflecting river; 
Old times blew thro' me like a gale. 

And kept my thoughts in a quiver. 

IV 

Hawking ruin, wood-slope, and vine 

Reeled silver-laced under my vision. 

And into me passed, with the green-eyed wine 
Knocking hard at my head for admission. 



PHANTASY 15S 



VI 



My bride wore the hood of a B^guine, 

And mine was the foot to falter; 
Three cowled monks, rat-eyed, were seen; 

The Cross was of bones o'er the altar. 

VII 

The Cross was of bones ; the priest that read, 

A spectacled necromancer : 
But at the fourth word, the bride I led 

Changed to an Opera dancer. 

VIII 

A young ballet-beauty, who perked in her place, 

A darling of pink and spangles ; 
One fair foot level with her face. 

And the hearts of men at her ankles. 

IX 

She whirled, she twirled, the mock-priest grinned. 
And quickly his mask unriddled; 

'Twas Adrian ! loud his old laughter dinned ; 
Then he seized a fiddle, and fiddled. 

X 

He fiddled, he glowed with the bottomless fire, 

Like Sathanas in feature : 
All through me he fiddled a wolfish desire 

To dance with that bright creature. 

XI 

And gathering courage I said to my soul, 

Throttle the thing that hinders ! 
When the three cowled monks, from black as coal. 

Waxed hot as furnace-cinders. 



154 POEMS 

XII 

They caught her up, twMing : they leapt between-whiles : 

The fiddler flickered with laughter : 
Profanely they flew down the awful aisles, 

Where I went sliding after. 

XIII 

Down the awful aisles, by the fretted walls, 

Beneath the Gothic arches : — 
King Skull in the black confessionals 

Sat rub-a-dub-dubbing his marches. 

XIV 

Then the silent cold stone warriors frowned. 

The pictured saints strode forward : 
A whirlwind swept them from holy ground ; 

A tempest puffed them nor'ward. 

XV 

They shot through the great cathedral door ; 

Like mallards they traversed ocean : 
And gazing below, on its boiling floor, 

I marked a horrid commotion. 

XVI 

Down a forest's long alleys they spun like tops : 

It seemed that for ages and ages, 
Thro' the Book of Life bereft of stops, 

They waltzed continuous pages- 

XVII 



PHANTASY 155 

XVIII 

Lilies, golden and white, by the curls 

Of their broad flat leaves hung swaying. 

A wreath of languid twining girls 

Streamed upward, long locks disarraying. 

' XIX 

Their cheeks had the satin frost-glow of the moon ; 

Their eyes the fire of Sirius. 
They circled, and droned a monotonous tune. 

Abandoned to love delirious. 

XX 

Like lengths of convolvulus torn from the hedge, 

And trailing the highway over. 
The dreamy-eyed mistresses circled the sedge, 

And called for a lover, a lover ! 

XXI 

I sank, I rose through seas of eyes, 

In odorous swathes delicious : 
They fanned me with impetuous sighs, 

They bit me with kisses vicious. 

XXII 

My ears were spelled, my neck was coiled, 
And I with their fury was glowing, 

When the marbly waters bubbled and boiled 
At a watery noise of crowing. 

XXIII 

They dragged me low and low to the lake : 
Their kisses more stormily showered; 

On the emerald brink, in the white moon's wake, 
An earthly damsel cowered. 



156 POEMS 

XXIV 

Fresh heart-sobs shook her knitted hands 

■ Beneath a tiny suckUng, 
As one by one of the doleful bands 
Dived like a fairy duckling. 

XXV 

And now my turn had come — me ! 

What wisdom was mine that second ! 
I dropped on the adorer's knee ; 

To that sweet figure I beckoned. 

XXVI 

Save me ! save me ! for now I know 
The powers that Nature gave me, 

And the value of honest love I know : — 
My \illage lily ! save me ! 

XXVII 

Come 'twixt me and the sisterhood, 

While the passion-born phantoms are fleeing I 

Oh, he that is true to flesh and blood 
Is true to his own being ! 

XXVIII 

And he that is false to flesh and blood 
Is false to the star within him : 

And the mad and hungry sisterhood 
All under the tides shall win him ! 

XXIX 



PHANTASY 157 

XXX 

I felt the cold wave and the under-tug 

Of the Brides, when — starting and shrinking — 

Lo, Adrian tilts the water-jug ! 

And Bruges with morn is blinking. 

XXXI 

Merrily sparkles sunny prime 

On gabled peak and arbour : 
Merrily rattles belfry-chime 

The song of Sevilla's Barber. 



158 POEMS 



THE OLD CHARTIST 



Whate'ee I be, old England is my dam ! 

So there 's my answer to the judges, clear 
I 'm nothing of a fox, nor of a lamb ; 

I don't know how to bleat nor how to leer : 

I 'm for the nation ! 
That 's why you see me by the wayside here. 
Returning home from transportation. 

II 

It 's Summer in her bath this morn, I think. 

I 'm fresh as dew, and chirpy as the birds : 
And just for joy to see old England wink 

Thro' leaves again, I could harangue the herds : 
Isn't it something 
To speak out like a man when you 've got words, 

And prove you 're not a stupid dumb thing ? 

Ill 

They shipp'd me off for it ; I 'm here again. 

Old England is my dam, whate'er I be ! 
Says I, I '11 tramp it home, and see the grain : 

If vou see well, vou 're king of what vou see : 



THE OLD CHARTIST 159 

IV 

You dear old brook, that from his Grace's park 

Come bounding ! on you run near my old town : 
My lord can't lock the water; nor the lark, 
Unless he kills him, can my lord keep down. 

Up, is the song-note ! 
I 've tried it, too : — ^for comfort and renown, 
I rather pitch'd upon the wrong note. 



I 'm not ashamed : Not beaten 's still my boast : 

Again I '11 rouse the people up to strike. 
But home 's where different politics jar most. 
Respectability the women like. 

This form, or that form, — 
The Government may be hungry pike, 
But don't you mount a Chartist platform ! 

VI 

Well, well ! Not beaten — spite of them, I shout ; 

And my estate is suffering for the Cause. — 
Now, what is yon brown water-rat about. 
Who washes his old poll with busy paws ? 

What does he mean by 't ? 
It 's like defying all our natural laws. 

For him to hope that he '11 get clean by 't. 

VII 

His seat is on a mud-bank, and his trade 

Is dirt : — he 's quite contemptible ; and yet 
The fellow 's all as anxious as a maid 
To show a decent dress, and dry the wet. 

Now it 's his whisker, 
And now his nose, and ear : he seems to get 
Each moment at the motion brisker ! 



160 POEMS 

VIII 

To see him squat like little chaps at school, 
I could let fly a laugh with all my might. 
He peers, hangs both his fore-paws : — bless that fool, 
He 's bobbing at his frill now ! — what a sight ! 

Licking the dish up, 
As if he thought to pass from black to white. 
Like parson into lawny bishop. 

IX 

The elms and yellow reed-flags in the sun 

Look on quite grave : — the sunlight flecks his side ; 
And links of bindweed-flowers round him run, 
And shine up doubled with him in the tide. 

/ 'm nearly splitting, 
But nature seems like seconding his pride, 
And thinks that his behaviour 's fitting. 



That isle o' mud looks baking dry with gold, 

His needle-muzzle still works out and in. 
It really is a wonder to behold, 

And makes me feel the bristles of my chin ; 

Judged by appearance, 
I fancy of the two I 'm nearer Sin, 
And might as well commence a clearance. 

XI 

And that 's what my fine daughter said : — she meant : 
Pray, hold your tongue, and wear a Sunday face. 

Her husband, the young linendraper, spent 
Much argument thereon : — I 'm their disgrace. 



THE OLD CHARTIST 161 

XII 

But if I go and say to my old hen : 

I '11 mend the gentry's boots, and keep discreet, 
Until they grow too violent, — ^why, then, 
A warmer welcome I might chance to meet : 

Warmer and better. 
And if she fancies her old cock is beat, 
And drops upon her knees — so let her ! 

XIII 

She suffered for me : — women, you '11 observe. 

Don't suffer for a Cause, but for a man. 
When I was in the dock she show'd her nerve : 
I saw beneath her shawl my old tea-can 
Trembling . . . she brought it 
To screw me for my work : she loath'd my plan. 
And therefore doubly kind I thought it. 

XIV 

I 've never lost the taste of that same tea : 

That liquor on my logic floats like oil. 

When I state facts, and fellows disagree. 

For human creatures all are in a coil ; 

All may want pardon. 
I see a day when every pot will boil 
Harmonious in one great Tea-garden ! 

XV 

We wait the setting of the Dandy's day. 

Before that time ! — He's furbishing his dress, — 
He will be ready for it ! — and I say, 

That yon old dandy rat amid the cress, — 

Thanks to hard labour ! — 
If cleanliness is next to godliness. 
The old fat fellow 's heaven's neighbour ! 



162 POEMS 

XVI 

You teach me a fine lesson, my old boy ! 

I 've looked on my superiors far too long, 
And small has been my profit as my joy. 
You 've done the right while I 've denounced 
the wrong. 

Prosper me later ! 
Like you I will despise the sniggering throng. 
And please myself and my Creator. 

XVII 

I '11 bring the linendraper and his wife 

Some day to see you ; taking off my hat. 
Should they ask why, 1 '11 answer : in my life 
I never found so true a democrat. 

Base occupation 
Can't rob you of your own esteem, old rat 1 
I '11 preach you to the British nation. 



SONG 163 



SONG' 



Should thy love die ; 
O bury it not under ice-blue eyes ! 

And lips that deny, 
With a scornful surprise, 
The life it once lived in thy breast when it wore no 
disguise. 

Should thy love die ; 
bury it where the sweet wild-flowers blow ! 

And breezes go by, 
With no whisper of woe ; 
And strange feet cannot guess of the anguish that 
slumbers below. 

Should thy love die 
wander once more to the haunt of the bee ! 

Where the foliaged sky 
Is most sacred to see. 
And thy being first felt its wild birth like a wind- wakened 
tree. 

Should thy love die ; 
dissemble it ! smile ! let the rose hide the thorn ! 

While the lark sings on high. 
And no thing looks forlorn, 
Bury it, bury it, bury it where it was bom. 

'Originally printed in 'Poems,' 1851. 



164 POEMS 



TO ALEX. SMITH, THE 'GLASGOW POET,' » 

ON HIS SONNET TO 'FAME' 

Not vainly doth the earnest voice of man 

Call for the thing that is his pure desire ! 

Fame is the birthright of the living lyre ! 

To noble impulse Nature puts no ban. 

Nor vainly to the Sphinx thy voice was raised ! 

Tho' all thy great emotions like a sea. 

Against her stony immortality, 

Shatter themselves unheeded and amazed. 

Time moves behind her in a blind eclipse : 

Yet if in her cold eyes the end of all 

Be visible, as on her large closed lips 

Hangs dumb the awful riddle of the earth ; — 

She sees, and she might speak, since that wild call, 

The mighty warning of a Poet's birth. 

» ' The Leader,' December 20, 1851. 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 165 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 

I 

' Heigh, boys ! ' cried Grandfather Bridgeman, ' it 's 
time before dinner to-day.' 

He lifted the crumpled letter, and thumped a surprising 
' Hurrah ! ' 

Up jumped all the echoing young ones, but John, with the 
starch in his throat, 

Said, ' Father, before we mfike noises, let 's see the con- 
tents of the note.' 

The old man glared at him harshly, and twinkling made 
answer : ' Too bad ! 

John Bridgeman, I'm always the whisky, and you are the 
water, my lad ! ' 

II 

But soon it was known thro' the house, and the house 

ran over for joy. 
That news, good news, great marvels, had come from the 

soldier boy ; 
Young Tom, the luckless scapegrace, offshoot of Methodist 

John ; 
His grandfather's evening tale, whom the old man hailed 

as his son. 
And the old man's shout of pride was a shout of his victory, 

too; 
For he called his affection a method: the neighbours' 

opinions he knew. 



166 POEMS 

III 

Meantime, from the morning table removing the stout 
breakfast cheer, 

The drink of the three generations, the milk, the tea, and 
the beer 

(Alone in its generous reading of pints stood the Grand- 
father's jug), 

The women for sight of the missive came pressing to coax 
and to hug. 

He scattered them quick, with a buss and a smack; 
thereupon he began 

Diversions with John's little Sarah: on Sunday, the 
naughty old man ! 

IV 

Then messengers sped to the maltster, the auctioneer, 

miller, and all 
The seven sons of the farmer who housed in the range of 

his call. 
Likewise the married daughters, three plentiful ladies, 

prime cooks. 
Who bowed to him while they condemned, in meek hope 

to stand high in his books. 
' John's wife is a fool at a pudding,' they said, and the 

light carts up hill 
Went merrily, flouting the Sabbath: for puddings well 

made mend a will. 

v 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 167 

Looked down as if wistfully eyeing the blossoms that fell 

from its lap : 
A day to sweeten the juices : a day to quicken the sap. 
All round the shadowy orchard sloped meadows in gold, 

and the dear 
Shy violets breathed their hearts out : the maiden breath 

of the year ! 

VI 

Full time there was before dinner to bring fifteen of his 
blood, 

To sit at the old man's table : they found that the dinner 
was good. 

But who was she by the lilacs and pouring laburnums 
concealed. 

When under the blossoming apple the chair of the Grand- 
father wheeled ? 

She heard one little child crying, 'Dear brave Cousin 
Tom!' as it leapt; 

Then murmured she: 'Let me spare them!' and passed 
round the walnuts, and wept. 

VII 

Yet not from sight had she slipped ere feminine eyes could 

detect 
The figure of Mary Charlworth. 'It 's just what we all 

might expect.' 
Was uttered : and : ' Didn't I tell you? ' Of Mary the 

rumour resounds, 
That she is now her own mistress, and mistress of five 

thousand pounds. 
'Twas she, they say, who cruelly sent young Tom to the war. 
Miss Mary, we thank you now ! If you knew what we 're 

thanking you for ! 



168 POEMS 

VIII 

But, 'Have her in: let her hear it/ called Grandfather 

Bridgeman, elate, 
While Mary's black-gloved fingers hung trembling with 

flight on the gate. 
Despite the women's remonstrance, two little ones, lighter 

than deer, 
Were loosed, and Mary, imprisoned, her whole face white 

as a tear. 
Came forward with culprit footsteps. Her punishment 

was to commence : 
The pity in her pale visage they read in a different 

sense. 

IX 

' You perhaps may remember a fellow, Miss Charlworth, 
a sort of black sheep,' 

The old man turned his tongue to ironical utterance 
deep :' 

' He came of a Methodist dad, so it wasn't his fault if he 
kicked. 

He earned a sad reputation, but Methodists are mortal 
strict. 

His name was Tom, and, dash me ! but Bridgeman I 
think you might add : 

Whatever he was, bear in mind that he came of a Metho- 
dist dad.' 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 169 

The old man answered, and further, the words that sent 

Tom to the ranks 
Repeated as words of a person to whom they all owed 

mighty thanks. 
But Mary never blushed : with her eyes on the letter, she 

sate, 
And twice interrupting him faltered, 'The date, may I 

ask. Sir, the date?' 

XI 

'Why, that 's what I never look at in a letter,' the farmer 

replied : 
' Facts first ! and now I '11 be parson.' The Bridgeman 

women descried 
A quiver on Mary's eyebrows. One turned, and while 

shifting her comb. 
Said low to a sister : ' I 'm certain she knows more than 

we about Tom. 
She wants him now he 's a hero ! ' The same, resuming 

her place. 
Begged Mary to check them the moment she found it a 

tedious case. 

XII 

Then as a mastiff swallows the snarling noises of cats. 
The voice of the farmer opened. '"Three cheers, and 

off with your hats !" 
— ^That's Tom. "We've beaten them. Daddy, and 

tough work it was, to be sure ! 
A regular stand-up combat : eight hours smelling powder 

and gore. 
I entered it Serjeant-Major," — and now he commands a 

salute. 
And carries the flag of old England ! Heigh ! see him 

lift foes on his foot ! 



170 POEMS 



XIII 

' — ^An officer! ay, Miss Charlworth, he is, or he is so 

to be; 
You '11 own war isn't such humbug : and Glory means 

something, you see. 
"But don't say a word," he continues, "against the brave 

French any more." 
— ^That stopt me : we '11 now march together. I couldn't 

read further before. 
That "brave French" I couldn't stomach. He can't see 

their cunning to get 
Us Britons to fight their battles, while best half the 

winnings they net !' 

XIV 

The old man sneered, and read forward. It was of that 
desperate fight ; — 

The Muscovite stole thro' the mist-wreaths that wrapped 
the chill Inkermann height. 

Where stood our silent outposts : old England was in 
them that day ! 

O sharp worked his ruddy wrinkles, as if to the breath of 
the fray 

They moved ! He sat bareheaded : his long hair over 
him slow 

Swung white as the silky bog-flowers in purple heath- 
hollows that grow. 

XV 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 171 

The hosts of the world. All heated, what wonder he 
little could brook 

To catch the sight of Mary's demure puritanical look ? 

And still as he led the onslaught, his treacherous side- 
shots he sent 

At her who was fighting a battle as fierce, and who sat 
there unbent. 

XVI 

"'We stood in line, and like hedgehogs the Russians 

rolled under us thick. 
They frightened me there." — He 's no coward ; for when, 

Miss, they came at the quick. 
The sight, he swears, was a breakfast. — " My stomach 

felt tight : in a glimpse 
I saw you snoring at home with the dear cuddled-up little 

imps. 
And then like the winter brickfields at midnight, hot fire 

lengthened out. 
Our fellows were just leashed bloodhounds : no heart of 

the lot faced about. 

XVII 

'"And only that grumbler, Bob Harris, remarked that 

we stood one to ten : 
'Ye fool,' says Mick Grady, 'just tell 'em they know to 

compliment men ! ' 
And I sang out your old words: 'If the opposite side 

isn't God's, 
Heigh ! after you 've counted a dozen, the pluckiest lads 

have the odds.' 
Ping-ping flew the enemy's pepper: the Colonel roared, 

Forward, and we 
Went at them. 'Twas first like a blanket : and then a 

long plunge in the sea. 



172 POEMS 



xvin 

'"Well, now about me and the Frenchman: it happened 

I can't tell you how : 
And, Grandfather, hear, if you love me, and put aside 

prejudice now" : 
He never says "Grandfather" — ^Tom don't — save it 's a 

serious thing. 
"Well, there were some pits for the rifles, just dug on our 

French-leaning wing : 
And backwards and forwards, and backwards we went, 

And at last I was vexed, 
And swore I would never surrender a foot when the 

Russians charged next. 

XIX 

'"I know that life 's worth keeping." — ^Ay, so it is, lad; 

so it is ! — 
"But my life belongs to a woman." — Does that mean 

Her Majesty, Miss? — 
"These Russians came lumping and grinning: they're 

fierce at it, though they are blocks. 
Our fellows were pretty well pumped, and looked sharp 

for the little French cocks. 
Lord, didn't we pray for their crowing ! when over us, on 

the hill-top. 
Behold the first line of them skipping, like kangaroos seen 

on the hop. 

XX 

<((rm,_j. i :_4._ „ „„; i._ i.i,;_u „r j-i :__ 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 173 

Sure, Serjeant, we '11 take their shot dacent, like gentle- 
men,' Grady replied. 

A ball in his mouth, and the noble old Irishman dropped 
by my side. 

Then there was just an instant to save myself, when a 
short wheeze 

Of bloody lungs under the smoke, and a red-coat crawled 
up on his knees. 

XXI 

""Twas Ensign Baynes of our parish." — Ah, ah. Miss 

Charlworth, the one 
Our Tom fought for a young lady? Come, now we 've 

got into the fun ! — 
"I shouldered him: he primed his pistol, and I trailed 

my musket, prepared." 
Why, that 's a fine pick-a-back for ye, to make twenty 

Russians looked scared ! 
"They came — never mind how many: we couldn't have 

run very well. 
We fought back to back : ' face to face, our last time ! ' 

he said, smiling, and fell. 

XXII 

'"Then I strove wild for his body: the beggars saw 

glittering rings. 
Which I vowed to send to his mother. I got some hard 

knocks and sharp stings. 
But felt them no more than angel, or devil, except in the 

wind. 
I know that I swore at a Russian for showing his teeth, 

and he grinned 
The harder: quick, as from heaven, a man on a horse 

rode between, 
And fired, and swung his bright sabre : I can't write you 

more of the scene. 



174 POEMS 

XXIII 

'"But half in his arms, and half at his stirrup, he bore 

me right forth, 
And pitched me among my old comrades : before I could 

tell south from north. 
He caught my hand up, and kissed it ! Don't ever let any 

man speak 
A word against Frenchmen, I near him ! I can't find his 

name, tho' I seek. 
But French, and a General, surely he was, and, God bless 

him ! thro' him 
I 've learnt to love a whole nation.'" The ancient man 

paused, winking dim. 

XXIV 

A curious look, half woeful, was seen on his face as he 
turned 

His eyes upon each of his children, like one who but faintly 
discerned 

His old self in an old mirror. Then gathering sense in his 
fist, 

He sounded it hard on his knee-cap. ' Your hand, Tom, 
the French fellow kissed ! 

He kissed my boy's old pounder ! I say he 's a gentle- 
man!' Straight 

The letter he tossed to one daughter; bade her the 
remainder relate. 

XXV 

Tom nronerlv stated his Draises in facts, but the ladv 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 175 

What nobler Christian natures these women could boast, 

who, 'twas known, 
Once spat at the name of their nephew, and now made his 

praises their own ! 
The letter at last was finished, the hearers breathed freely, 

and sign 
Was given, 'Tom's health!' — Quoth the farmer: 'Eh, 

Miss ? are you weak in the spine ? ' 

XXVI 

For Mary had sunk, and her body was shaking, as if in a fit. 
Tom's letter she held, and her thumb-nail the month when 

the letter was writ 
Fast-dinted, while she hung sobbing: 'O, see. Sir, the 

letter is old ! 
O, do not be too happy!' — 'If I understand you, I 'm 

bowled ! ' 
Said Grandfather Bridgeman, ' and down go my wickets ! 

— ^not happy ! when here. 
Here 's Tom like to marry his General's daughter — or 

widow — I '11 swear ! 

XXVII 

' I wager he knows how to strut, too ! It 's all on the 

cards that the Queen 
Will ask him to Buckingham Palace, to say what he 's 

done and he 's seen. 
Victoria 's fond of her soldiers : and she 's got a nose for 

a fight. 
If Tom tells a cleverish story — there is such a thing as a 

knight ! 
And don't he look roguish and handsome ! — ^To see a girl 

snivelling there — 
By George, Miss, it 's clear that you 're jealous !' — 'I love 

him!' she answered his stare. 



176 POEMS 



XXVIII 

'Yes! now!' breathed the voice of a woman. — 'Ah! 

now !' quiver'd low the reply. 
'And "now" 's just a bit too late, so it 's no use your 

piping your eye,' 
The farmer added bluffly : ' Old Lawyer Charlworth was 

rich; 
You followed his instructions in kicking Tom into the 

ditch. 
If you 're such a dutiful daughter, that doesn't prove Tom 

is a fool. 
Forgive and forget 's my motto ! and here 's my grog 

growing cool ! ' 

XXIX 

'But, Sir,' Mary faintly repeated : 'for four long weeks I 

have failed 
To come and cast on you my burden ; such grief for you 

always prevailed I 
My heart has so bled for you 1' The old man burst on her 

speech : 
' You 've chosen a likely time, Miss ! a pretty occasion to 

preach ! ' 
And was it not outrageous, that now, of all times, one 

should come 
With incomprehensible pity ! Far better had Mary been 

dumb. 

XXX 

But when aeain she stammered in this bewildering 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 177 

But not to be whimpering nonsense at such a time. 

Pricked by a goad, 
' 'Twas you who sent him to glory : — you 've come here to 

reap what you sowed. 
Is that it ? ' he asked ; and the silence the elders preserved 

plainly said, 
On Mary's heaving bosom this begging-petition was read. 

XXXI 

And that it was scarcely a bargain that she who had 

driven him wild 
Should share now the fruits of his valour, the women 

expressed, as they smiled. 
The family pride of the Bridgemans was comforted ; still, 

with contempt. 
They looked on a monied damsel of modesty quite so 

exempt. 
' give me force to tell them ! ' cried Mary, and even as 

she spoke, 
A shout and a hush of the children: a vision on all of 

them broke. 

XXXII 

Wheeled, pale, in a chair, and shattered, the wreck of their 

hero was seen ; 
The ghost of Tom drawn slow o'er the orchard's shadowy 

green. 
Could this be the martial darling they joyed in a moment 

ago? 
' He knows it ? ' to Mary Tom murmured, and closed his 

weak lids at her 'No.' 
'Beloved!' she said, falling by him, 'I have been a 

coward : I thought 
You lay in the foreign country, and some strange good 

might be wrought. 



178 POEMS 

XXXIII 

' Each day I have come to tell him, and failed, with my 

hand on the gate. 
I bore the dreadful knowledge, and crushed my heart 

with its weight. 
The letter brought by your comrade — he has but just read 

it aloud ! 
It only reached him this morning!' Her head on his 

shoulder she bowed. 
Then Tom with pity's tenderest lordliness patted her 

arm, 
And eyed the old white-head fondly, with something of 

doubt and alarm. 

XXXIV 

0, take to your fancy a sculptor whose fresh marble off- 
spring appears 

Before him, shiningly perfect, the laurel-crown'd issue of 
years : 

Is heaven offended ? for lightning behold from its bosom 
escape, ~ 

And those are mocking fragments that made the har- 
monious shape ! 

He cannot love the ruins, tUl, feeling that ruins 
alone 

Are left, he loves them threefold. So passed the old 
grandfather's moan. 

XXXV 

John's text for a sermon on Slaughter he heard, and he 



GRANDFATHER BRIDGEMAN 179 

Just showing the swell of the fire as it melted him. 

Smiting a rib, 
' Heigh ! what have we been about, Tom ! Was this all 

a terrible fib ? ' 
He cried, and the letter forth-trembled. Tom told what 

the cannon had done. 
Few present but ached to see falling those aged tears on 

his heart's son ! 

XXXVI 

Up lanes of the quiet village, and where the mill-waters 

rush red 
Thro' browning summer meadows to catch the sun's 

crimsoning head. 
You meet an old man and a maiden who has the soft ways 

of a wife 
With one whom they wheel, alternate; whose delicate 

flush of new life 
Is prized like the early primrose. Then shake his right 

hand, in the chair — 
The old man fails never to tell you : ' You 've got the 

French General's there !' 



180 POEMS 



THE PROMISE IN DISTURBANCE 

How low when angels fall their black descent, 
Our primal thunder tells : known is the pain 
Of music, that nigh throning wisdom went. 
And one false note cast wailful to the insane. 
Now seems the language heard of Love as rain 
To make a mire where fruitfulness was meant. 
The golden harp gives out a jangled strain. 
Too like revolt from heaven's Omnipotent. 
But listen in the thought ; so may there come 
Conception of a newly-added chord. 
Commanding space beyond where ear has home. 
In labour of the trouble at its fount. 
Leads Life to an intelligible Lord 
The rebel discords up the sacred mount. 



MODERN LOVE 181 



MODERN LOVE 



By this he knew she wept with waking eyes : 

That, at his hand's light quiver by her head, 

The strange low sobs that shook their common bed 

Were called into her with a sharp surprise. 

And strangled mute, like little gaping snakes, 

Dreadfully venomous to him. She lay 

Stone-still, and the long darkness flowed away 

With muffled pulses. Then, as midnight makes 

Her giant heart of Memory and Tears 

Drink the pale drug of silence, and so beat 

Sleep's heavy measure, they from head to feet 

Were moveless, looking through their dead black years, 

By vain regret scrawled over the blank wall. 

Like sculptured effigies they might be seen 

Upon their marriage-tomb, the sword between ; | 

Each wishing for the sword that severs all. I 



182 POEMS 



II 

It ended, and the morrow brought the task. 
Her eyes were guilty gates, that let him in 
By shutting all too zealous for their sin : 
Each sucked a secret, and each wore a mask. 
But, oh, the bitter taste her beauty had ! 
He sickened as at breath of poison-flowers : 
A languid humour stole among the hours, 
And if their smiles encountered, he went mad. 
And raged deep inward, till the light was brown 
Before his vision, and the world, forgot. 
Looked wicked as some old dull murder-spot. 
A star with lurid beams, she seemed to crown 
The pit of infamy : and then again 
He fainted on his vengefulness, and strove 
To ape the magnanimity of love. 
And smote himself, a shuddering heap of pain. 



MODERN LOVE 183 



III 

This was the woman ; what now of the man? 
But pass him. If he comes beneath a heel, 
He shall be crushed until he cannot feel, 
Or, being callous, haply till he can. 
But he is nothing : — ^nothing ? Only mark 
The rich light striking out from her on him ! 
Ha ! what a sense it is when her eyes swim 
Across the man she singles, leaving dark 
All else ! Lord God, who mad'st the thing so fair, 
i,vD 1 ■» ". See that I am drawn to her even now ! 

It cannot be such harm on her cool brow 

To put a kiss ? Yet if I meet him there ! 

But she is mine ! Ah, no ! I know too well 

I claim a star whose light is overcast : 

I claim a phantom-woman in the Past. 

The hour has struck, though I heard not the bell ! 



184 POEMS 



IV 

All other joys of life he strove to warm, 
And magnify, and catch them to his lip : 
But they had suffered shipwreck with the ship. 
And gazed upon him sallow from the storm. 
Or if Delusion came, 'twas but to show 
The coming minute mock the one that went. 
Cold as a mountain in its star-pitched tent. 
Stood high Philosophy, less friend than foe : 
Whom self-caged Passion, from its prison-bars. 
Is always watching with a wondering hate. 
Not till the fire is dying in the grate. 
Look we for any kinship with the stars. 
Oh, wisdom never comes when it is gold. 
And the great price we pay for it full worth : 
' We have it only when we are half earth. 
Little avails that coinage to the old ! 



MODERN LOVE 185 



A message from her set his brain aflame. 

A world of household matters filled her mind, 

Wherein he saw hypocrisy designed : 

She treated him as something that is tame, 

And but at other provocation bites. 

Familiar was her shoulder in the glass, 

Through that dark rain : yet it may come to pass 

That a changed eye finds such familiar sights 

More keenly tempting than new loveliness. 

The ' What has been ' a moment seemed his own : 

The splendours, mysteries, dearer because known. 

Nor less divine : Love's inmost sacredness 

Called to him, ' Come ! ' — In his restraining start, 

Eyes nurtured to be looked at scarce could see 

A wave of the great waves of Destiny 

Convulsed at a checked impulse of the heart. 



186 POEMS 



VI 

It chanced his lips did meet her forehead cool. 
She had no blush, but slanted down her eye. 
Shamed nature, then, confesses love can die : 
And most she punishes the tender fool 
Who will believe what honours her the most ! 
Dead ! is it dead ? She has a pulse, and flow 
Of tears, the price of blood-drops, as I know. 
For whom the midnight sobs around Love's ghost, 
Since then I heard her, and so will sob on. 
The love is here ; it has but changed its aim. 
bitter barren women ! what 's the name ? 
The name, the name, the new name thou hast won? 
Behold me striking the world's coward stroke ! 
That will I not do, though the sting is dire. 
' — Beneath the surface this, while by the fire 
They sat, she laughing at a quiet joke. 



MODERN LOVE 187 



VII 

She issues radiant from her dressing-room, 

Like one prepared to scale an upper sphere : 

— By stirring up a lower, much I fear ! 

How deftly that oiled barber lays his bloom ! 

That long-shanked dapper Cupid with frisked curls 

Can make known women torturingly fair ; 

The gold-eyed serpent dwelling in rich hair 

Awakes beneath his magic whisks and twirls. 

His art can take the eyes from out my head, 

Until I see with eyes of other men ; 

While deeper knowledge crouches in its den, 

And sends a spark up : — is it true we are wed ? 

Yea ! filthiness of body is most vDe, 

But faithlessness of heart I do hold worse. 

The former, it were not so great a curse 

To read on the steel-mirror of her smile. 



188 POEMS 



VIII 

Yet it was plain she struggled, and that salt 

Of righteous feeling made her pitiful. 

Poor twisting worm, so queenly beautiful ! 

Where came the cleft between us ? whose the fault ? 

My tears are on thee, that have rarely dropped 

As balm for any bitter wound of mine : 

My breast will open for thee at a sign ! 

But, no : we are two reed-pipes, coarsely stopped : 

The God once filled them with his mellow breath ; 

And they were music till he flung them down, 

Used ! used ! Hear now the discord-loving clown 

Puff his gross spirit in them, worse than death ! 

I do not know myself without thee more : 

In this unholy battle I grow base : 

If the same soul be under the same face, 

Speak, and a taste of that old time restore ! 



MODERN LOVE 189 



IX 

He felt the wild beast in him betweenwhiles 

So masterfully rude, that he would grieve 

To see the helpless delicate thing receive 

His guardianship through certain dark defiles. 

Had he not teeth to rend, and hunger too ? 

But still he spared her. Once : ' Have you no fear?' 

He said : 'twas dusk ; she in his grasp ; none near. 

She laughed : ' No, surely ; am I not with you ? ' 

And uttering that soft starry ' you ,' she leaned 

Her gentle body near him, looking up ; 

And from her eyes, as from a poison-cup. 

He drank until the flittering eyelids screened. 

Devilish malignant witch ! and oh, young beam 

Of heaven's circle-glory ! Here thy shape 

To squeeze like an intoxicating grape — 

I might, and yet thou goest safe, supreme. 



190 POEMS 



But where began the change ; and what 's my crime ? 

The wretch condemned, who has not been arraigned, 

Chafes at his sentence. Shall I, unsustained, 

Drag on Love's nerveless body thro' all time ? 

I must have slept, since now I wake. Prepare, 

You lovers, to know Love a thing of moods : 

Not, like hard life, of laws. In Love's deep woods, 

I dreamt of loyal Life : — the offence is there ! 

Love's jealous woods about the sun are curled ; 

At least, the sun far brighter there did beam. — 

My crime is, that the puppet of a dream, 

I plotted to be worthy of the world. 

Oh, had I with my darling helped to mince 

The facts of life, you still had seen me go 

With hindward feather and with forward toe. 

Her much-adored delightful Fairy Prince ! 



MODERN LOVE 191 



XI 

Out in the yellow meadows, where the bee 

Hums by us with the honey of the Spring, 

And showers of sweet notes from the larks on wing 

Are dropping like a noon-dew, wander we. 

Or is it now? or was it then? for now. 

As then, the larks from running rings pour showers : 

The golden foot of May is on the flowers, 

And friendly shadows dance upon her brow. 

What 's this, when Nature swears there is no change 

To challenge eyesight ? Now, as then, the grace 

Of heaven seems holding earth in its embrace. 

Nor eyes, nor heart, has she to feel it strange ? 

Look, woman, in the West. There wilt thou see 

An amber cradle near the sun's decline : 

Within it, featured even in death divine. 

Is lying a dead infant, slain by thee. 



192 POEMS 



XII 

Not solely that the Future she destroys, 
And the fair life which in the distance lies 
For all men, beckoning out from dim rich skies : 
Nor that the passing hour's supporting joys 
Have lost the keen-edged flavour, which begat 
Distinction in old times, and still should breed 
Sweet Memory, and Hope, — earth's modest seed. 
And heaven's high-prompting: not that the world 

is flat 
Since that soft-luring creature I embraced 
Among the children of Illusion went : 
Methinks with all this loss I were content, 
If the mad Past, on which my foot is based. 
Were firm, or might be blotted : but the whole 
Of life is mixed : the mocking Past will stay : 
And if I drink oblivion of a day, 
"^ So shorten I the stature of my soul. 



MODERN LOVE 193 



XIII 

' I play for Seasons ; not Eternities ! ' 

Says Nature, laughing on her way. ' So must 

All those whose stake is nothing more than dust ! ' 

And lo, she wins, and of her harmonies 

She is full sure ! Upon her dying rose 

She drops a look of fondness, and goes by, 

Scarce any retrospection in her eye ; 

For she the laws of growth most deeply knows. 

Whose hands bear, here, a seed-bag — ^there, an urn. 

Pledged she herself to aught, 'twould mark her end ! 

This lesson of our only visible friend 

Can we not teach our foolish hearts to learn? 

Yes ! yes ! — but, oh, our human rose is fair 

Surpassingly ! Lose calmly Love's great bliss, 

When the renewed for ever of a kiss 

Whirls life within the shower of loosened hair ! 



194 POEMS 



XIV 

What soul would bargain for a cure that brings 

Contempt the nobler agony to kUl ? 

Rather let me bear on the bitter LU, 

And strike this rusty bosom with new stings ! 

It seems there is another veering fit, 

Since on a gold-haired lady's eyeballs pure 

I looked with little prospect of a cure, 

The while her mouth's red bow loosed shafts of wit. 

Just heaven ! can it be true that jealousy 

Has decked the woman thus ? and does her head 

Swim somewhat for possessions forfeited? 

Madam, you teach me many things that be. 

I open an old book, and there I find 

That ' Women still may love whom they deceive.' 

Such love I prize not, madam-: by your leave. 

The game you play at is not to my mind. 



MODERN LOVE 195 



XV 

I think she sleeps : it must be sleep, when low 

Hangs that abandoned arm toward the floor ; 

The face turned with it. Now make fast the door. 

Sleep on : it is your husband, not your foe. 

The Poet's black stage-lion of wronged love 

Frights not our modern dames : — well if he did ! 

Now I will pour new light upon that lid. 

Full-sloping like the breasts beneath. ' Sweet dove, 

Your sleep is pure. Nay, pardon : I disturb. 

I do not ? good ! ' Her waking infant-stare 

Grows woman to the burden my hands bear : 

Her own handwriting to me when no curb 

Was left on Passion's tongue. She trembles through ; 

A woman's tremble — the whole instrument : — 

I show another letter lately sent. 

The words are very like : the name is new. 



196 POEMS 



XVI 

In our old shipwrecked days there was an hour, 
When in the firelight steadily aglow, 
Joined slackly, we beheld the red chasm grow 
Among the clicking coals. Our library-bower 
That eve was left to us : and hushed we sat 
As lovers to whom Time is whispering. 
From sudden-opened doors we heard them sing : 
The nodding elders mixed good wine with chat. 
Well knew we that Life's greatest treasure lay 
With us, and of it was our talk. ' Ah, yes ! 
Love dies ! ' I said : I never thought it less. 
She yearned to me that sentence to unsay. 
Then when the fire domed blackening, I found 
Her cheek was salt against my kiss, and swift 
Up the sharp scale of sobs her breast did lift : — 
Now am I haunted by that taste ! that sound ! 



MODERN LOVE 197 



At dinner, she is hostess, I am host. 
Went the feast ever cheerfuller? She keeps 
The Topic over intellectual deeps 
In buoyancy afloat. They see no ghost. 
With sparkling surface-eyes we ply the ball : 
It is in truth a most contagious game : 
Hiding the Skeleton, shall be its name. 
Such play as this the devils might appal ! 
But here 's the greater wonder ; in that we, 
Enamoured of an acting nought can tire, 
Each other, like true hypocrites, admire ; 
Warm-lighted looks. Love's ephemeridse 
Shoot gaily o'er the dishes and the wine. 
We waken envy of our happy lot. 
Fast, sweet, and golden, shows the marriage-knot. 
Dear guests, you now have seen Love's corpse-light ' 
shine. 



198 POEMS 



XVIII 

Here Jack and Tom are paired with Moll and Meg. 

Curved open to the river-reach is seen 

A country merry-making on the green. 

Fair space for signal shakings of the leg. 

That little screwy fiddler from his booth, 

Whence flows one nut-brown stream, commands the 

joints 
Of all who caper here at various points. 
I have known rustic revels in my youth : 
The May-fly pleasures of a mind at ease. 
An early goddess was a country lass : 
A charmed Amphion-oak she tripped the grass. 
What life was that I lived ? The life of these ? 
Heaven keep them happy ! Nature they seem near. 
They must, I think, be wiser than I am ; 
They have the secret of the bull and lamb. 
'Tis true that when we trace its source, 'tis beer. 



MODERN LOVE 199 



XIX 

No state is enviable. To the luck alone 

Of some few favoured men I would put claim. 

I bleed, but her who wounds I will not blame. 

Have I not felt her heart as 'twere my own 

Beat thro' me? could I hurt her? heaven and hell ! 

But I could hurt her cruelly ! Can I let 

My Love's old time-piece to another set, 

Swear it can't stop, and must for ever swell ? 

Sure, that 's one way Love drifts into the mart 

Where goat-legged buyers throng. I see not plain :- 

My meaning is, it must not be again. 

Great God ! the maddest gambler throws his heart. 

If any state be enviable on earth, 

'Tis yon born idiot's, who, as days go by, 

Still rubs his hands before him, like a fly, 

In a queer sort of meditative mirth. 



200 POEMS 



XX 

I am not of those miserable males 

Who sniff at vice and, daring not to snap, 

Do therefore hope for heaven. I take the hap 

Of all my deeds. The wind that fills my sails 

Propels ; but I am helmsman. Am I wrecked, 

I know the devil has sufficient weight 

To bear : I lay it not on him, or fate. 

Besides, he 's damned. That man I do suspect 

A coward, who would burden the poor deuce 

With what ensues from his own slipperiness. 

I have just found a wanton-scented tress 

In an old desk, dusty for lack of use. 

Of days and nights it is demonstrative. 

That, like some aged star, gleam luridly. 

If for those times I must ask charity, 

Have I not any charity to give? 



MODERN LOVE 201 



XXI 

We three are on the cedar-shadowed lawn ; 

My friend being third. He who at love once laughed 

Is in the weak rib by a fatal shaft 

Struck through, and tells his passion's bashful dawn 

And radiant culmination, glorious crown, 

When ' this ' she said : went ' thus ' : most wondrous 

she. 
Our eyes grow white, encountering : that we are three, 
Forgetful ; then together we look down. 
But he demands our blessing ; is convinced 
That words of wedded lovers must bring good. 
We question ; if we dare ! or if we should ! 
And pat him, with light laugh. We have not winced. 
Next, she has fallen. Fainting points the sign 
To happy things in wedlock. When she wakes, 
She looks the star that thro' the cedar shakes : 
Her lost moist hand clings mortally to mine. 



202 POEMS 



XXII 

What may the woman labour to confess ? 

There is about her mouth a nervous twitch. 

'Tis something to be told, or hidden : — which ? 

I get a glimpse of hell in this mild guess. 

She has desires of touch, as if to feel 

That all the household things are things she knew. 

She stops before the glass. What sight in view? 

A face that seems the latest to reveal ! 

For she turns from it hastily, and tossed 

Irresolute steals shadow-like to where 

I stand ; and wavering pale before me there, 

Her tears fall still as oak-leaves after frost. 

She will not speak. I will not ask. We are 

League-sundered by the silent gulf between. 
/You burly lovers on the village green, 
"' Yours is a lower, and a happier star ! 



MODERN LOVE 203 



XXIII 

'Tis Christmas weather, and a country house 
Receives us : rooms are full : we can but get 
An attic-crib. Such lovers will not fret 
At that, it is half-said. The great carouse 
Knocks hard upon the midnight's hollow door, 
But when I knock at hers, I see the pit. 
Why did I come here in that dullard fit ? 
I enter, and lie couched upon the floor. 
Passing, I caught the coverlet's quick beat : — 
Come, Shame, bum to my soul! and Pride, and 

Pain — 
Foul demons that have tortured me, enchain! 
Out in the freezing darkness the lambs bleat. 
The small bird stiffens in the low starlight. 
I know not how, but shuddering as I slept, 
I dreamed a banished angel to me crept : 
My feet were nourished on her breasts all night. 



204 POEMS 



XXIV 

The misery is greater, as I live ! 
To know her flesh so pure, so keen her sense, 
That she does penance now for no offence, 
Save against Love. The less can I forgive ! 
The less can I forgive, though I adore 
That cruel lovely pallor which surrounds 
Her footsteps; and the low vibrating sounds 
That come on me, as from a magic shore. 
Low are they, but most subtle to find out 
The shrinking soul. Madam, 'tis understood 
When women play upon their womanhood, 
It means, a Season gone. And yet I doubt 
But I am duped. That nun-like look waylays 
My fancy. Oh ! I do but wait a sign ! 
Pluck out the eyes of pride ! thy mouth to mine ! 
Never ! though I die thirsting. Go thy ways ! 



MODERN LOVE 205 



XXV 

You like not that French novel ? Tell me why. 
You think it quite unnatural. Let us see. 
The actors are, it seems, the usual three : 
Husband, and wife, and lover. She — but fie ! 
In England we '11 not hear of it. Edmond, 
The lover, her devout chagrin doth share ; 
Blanc-mange and absinthe are his penitent fare, 
Till his pale aspect makes her over-fond : 
So, to preclude fresh sin, he tries rosbif. 
Meantime the husband is no more abused : 
Auguste forgives her ere the tear is used. 
Then hangeth all on one tremendous If : — 
// she will choose between them. She does choose ; 
And takes her husband, like a proper wife. 
Unnatural? My dear, these things are life : 
And life, some think, is worthy of tlie Muse. 



206 POEMS 



XXVI 

Love ere lie bleeds, an eagle in high skies, 
Has earth beneath his wings : from reddened eve 
He views the rosy dawn. In vain they weave 
The fatal web below while far he flies. 
But when the arrow strikes him, there 's a change. 
He moves but in the track of his spent pain. 
Whose red drops are the links of a harsh chain, 
Binding him to the ground, with narrow range. 
A subtle serpent then has Love become. 
I had the eagle in my bosom erst : 
Henceforward with the serpent I am cursed. 
I can interpret where the mouth is dumb. 
Speak, and I see the side-lie of a truth. 
Perchance my heart may pardon you this deed : 
But be no coward : — you that made Love bleed. 
You must bear all the venom of his tooth ! 



MODERN LOVE 207 



XXVII 

Distraction is the panacea, Sir ! 

I hear my oracle of Medicine say. 

Doctor ! that same specific yesterday 

I tried, and the result will not deter 

A second trial. Is the devil's line 

Of golden hair, or raven black, composed ? 

And does a cheek, like any sea-shell rosed, 

Or clear as widowed sky, seem most divine? 

No matter, so I taste forgetfulness. 

And if the devil snare me, body and mind. 

Here gratefully I score : — he seemed kind. 

When not a soul would comfort my distress ! 

sweet new world, in which I rise new made ! 

lady, once I gave love : now I take ! 

Lady, I must be flattered. Shouldst thou wake 

The passion of a demon, be not afraid. 



208 POEMS 



XXVIII 

I must be flattered. The imperious 
Desire speaks out. Lady, I am content 
To play with you the game of Sentiment, 
And with you enter on paths perilous ; 
But if across your beauty I throw light, 
To make it threefold, it must be all mine. 
First secret ; then avowed. For I must shine 
Envied, — I, lessened in my proper sight ! 
Be watchful of your beauty. Lady dear ! 
How much hangs on that lamp you cannot tell. 
Most earnestly I pray you, tend it well : 
And men shall see me as a burning sphere ; 
And men shall mark you eyeing me, and groan 
To be the God of such a grand sunflower ! 
I feel the promptings of Satanic power, 
While you do homage unto me alone. 



MODERN LOVE 209 



XXIX 

Am I failing? For no longer can I cast 

A glory round about this head of gold. 

Glory she wears, but springing from the mould ; 

Not like the consecration of the Past ! 

Is my soul beggared ? Something more than earth 

I cry for still : I cannot be at peace 

In having Love upon a mortal lease. 

I cannot take the woman at her worth ! 

Where is the ancient wealth wherewith I clothed 

Our human nakedness, and could endow 

With spiritual splendour a white brow 

That else had grinned at me the fact I loathed ? 

A kiss is but a kiss now ! and no wave 

Of a great flood that whirls me to the sea. 

But, as you will ! we '11 sit contentedly, 

And eat our pot of honey on the grave. 



210 POEMS 



XXX 

What are we first ? First, animals ; and next 

Intelligences at a leap ; on whom 

Pale lies the distant shadow of the tomb, 

And all that draweth on the tomb for text. 

Into which state comes Love, the crowning smi : 

Beneath whose light the shadow loses form. 

We are the lords of life, and life is warm. 

Intelligence and instinct now are one. 

But nature says : 'My children most they seem 

When they least know me : therefore I decree 

That they shall suffer.' Swift doth young Love 

flee. 
And we stand wakened, shivering from our dream. 
Then if we study Nature we are wise. 
Thus do the few who live but with the day : 
The scientific animals are they. — 
Lady, this is my sonnet to your eyes. 



MODERN LOVE 211 



XXXI 

This golden head has wit in it. I live 
Again, and a fax higher life, near her. 
Some women like a young philosopher ; 
Perchance because he is diminutive. 
For woman's manly god must not exceed 
Proportions of the natural nursing size._ 
Great poets and great sages draw no prize 
With women : but the little lap-dog breed, 
Who can be hugged, or on a mantel-piece 
Perched up for adoration, these obtain 
Her homage. And of this we men are vain? 
Of this ! 'Tis ordered for the world's increase ! 
Small flattery ! Yet she has that rare gift 
To beauty, Common Sense. I am approved. 
It is not half so nice as being loved, 
And yet I do prefer it. What 's my drift ? 



212 POEMS 



XXXII 

Full faith I have she holds that rarest gift 
To beauty, Common Sense. To see her lie 
With her fair visage an inverted sky 
Bloom-covered, while the underlids uplift. 
Would almost wreck the faith ; but when her 

mouth 
(Can it kiss sweetly ? sweetly !) would address 
The inner me that thirsts for her no less. 
And has so long been languishing in drouth, 
I feel that I am matched ; that I am man ! 
One restless corner of my heart or head, 
That holds a dying something never dead. 
Still frets, though Nature giveth all she can. 
It means, that woman is not, I opine, 
Her sex's antidote. Who seeks the asp 
For serpent's bites ? 'Twould calm me could 

I clasp 
Shrieking Bacchantes with their souls of wine ! 



MODERN LOVE 213 



xxxin 

' In Paris, at the Louvre, there have I seen 

The sumptuously-feathered angel pierce 

Prone Lucifer, descending. Looked he fierce. 

Showing the fight a fair one ? Too serene ! 

The young Pharsalians did not disarray 

Less willingly their locks of floating silk : 

That suckling mouth of his upon the milk 

Of heaven might stUl be feasting through the fray. 

Oh, Raphael ! when men the Fiend do fight, 

They conquer not upon such easy terms. 

Half serpent in the struggle grow these worms. 

And does he grow half human, all is right.' 

This to my Lady in a distant spot. 

Upon the theme : While mind is mastering clay, 

Gross clay invades it. If the spy you play, 

My wife, read this ! Strange love talk, is it not ? 



214 POEMS 



XXXIV 

Madam would speak with me. So, now it comes : 

The Deluge or else Fire ! She 's well ; she thanks 

My husbandship. Our chain on silence clanks. 

Time leers between, above his twiddling thumbs. 

Am I quite well ? Most excellent in health ! 

The journals, too, I diligently peruse. 

Vesuvius is expected to give news : 

Niagara is no noisier. By stealth 

Our eyes dart scrutinizing snakes. She 's glad 

I 'm happy, says her quivering under-lip. 

' And are not you? ' ' How can I be? ' ' Take 

ship ! 
For happiness is somewhere to be had.' 
' Nowhere for me ! ' Her voice is barely heard. 
I am not melted, and make no pretence. 
With commonplace I freeze her, tongue and sense. 
Niagara or Vesuvius is deferred. 



MODERN LOVE 215 



XXXV 

It is no vulgar nature I have wived. 

Secretive, sensitive, she takes a wound 

Deep to her soul, as if the sense had swooned, 

And not a thought of vengeance had survived. 

No confidences has she : but relief 

Must come to one whose suffering is acute. 

have a care of natures that are mute ! 

They punish you in acts : their steps are brief. 

What is she doing ? What does she demand 

From Providence or me ? She is not one 

Long to endure this torpidly, and shun 

The drugs that crowd about a woman's hand. 

At Forfeits during snow we played, and I 

Must kiss her. ' Well performed ! ' I said : then 

she: 
' 'Tis hardly worth the money, you agree ? ' 
Save her? What for? To act this wedded lie ! 



216 POEMS 



XXXVI 

My Lady unto Madam makes her bow. 

The charm of women is, that even while 

You 're probed by them for tears, you yet may 

smile, 
Nay, laugh outright, as I have done just now. 
The interview was gracious : they anoint 
(To me aside) each other with fine praise : 
Discriminating compliments they raise. 
That hit with wondrous aim on the weak point : 
My Lady's nose of Nature might complain. 
It is not fashioned aptly to express 
Her character of large-browed steadfastness. 
But Madam says : Thereof she may be vain ! 
Now, Madam's faulty feature is a glazed 
And inaccessible eye, that has soft fires, 
Wide gates, at love-time, only. This admires 
My Lady. At the two I stand amazed. 



MODERN LOVE 217 



XXXVII 

Along the garden terrace, under which 

A purple valley (lighted at its edge 

By smoky torch-flame on the long cloud-ledge 

Whereunder dropped the chariot) glimmers rich, 

A quiet company we pace, and wait 

The dinner-bell in prae-digestive calm. 

So sweet up violet banks the Southern balm 

Breathes round, we care not if the bell be late : 

Though here and there grey seniors question Time 

In irritable coughings. With slow foot 

The low rosed moon, the face of Music mute, 

Begins among her silent bars to climb. 

As in and out, in sUvery dusk, we thread, 

I hear the laugh of Madam, and discern 

My Lady's heel before me at each turn. 

Our tragedy, is it alive or dead ? 



218 POEMS 



XXXVIII 

Give to imagination some pure light 

In human form to fix it, or you shame 

The devils with that hideous human game : — 

Imagination urging appetite ! 

Thus fallen have earth's greatest Gogmagogs, 

Who dazzle us, whom we can not revere : 

Imagination is the charioteer 

That, in default of better, drives the hogs. 

So, therefore, my dear Lady, let me love ! 

My soul is arrowy to the light in you. 

You know me that I never can renew 

The bond that woman broke : what would you 

have? 
'Tis Love, or Vileness ! not a choice between, 
Save petrifaction ! What does Pity here ? 
She killed a thing, and now it 's dead, 'tis dear. 
Oh, when you counsel me, think what you mean ! 



MODERN LOVE 219 



XXXIX 

She yields : my Lady in her noblest mood 

Has yielded : she, my golden-crowned rose ! 

The bride of every sense ! more sweet than those 

Who breathe the violet breath of maidenhood. 

O visage of still music in the sky ! 

Soft moon ! I feel thy song, my fairest friend ! 

True harmony within can apprehend 

Dumb harmony without. And hark ! 'tis nigh ! 

Belief has struck the note of sound : a gleam 

Of living sUver shows me where she shook 

Her long white fingers down the shadowy brook, 

That sings her song, half waking, half in dream. 

What two come here to mar this heavenly tune ? 

A man is one : the woman bears my name, 

And honour. Their hands touch ! Am I still 

tame? 
God, what a dancing spectre seems the moon ! 



220 POEMS 



XL 

I bade my Lady think what she might mean. 
Know I my meaning, I ? Can I love one, 
And yet be jealous of another? None 
Commits such folly. Terrible Love, I ween, 
Has might, even dead, half sighing to upheave 
The lightless seas of selfishness amain : 
Seas that in a man's heart have no rain 
To fall and still them. Peace can I achieve. 
By turning to this fountain-source of woe. 
This woman, who 's to Love as fire to wood? 
She breathed the violet breath of maidenhood 
Against my kisses once ! but I say, No ! 
The thing is mocked at ! Helplessly afloat, 
I know not what I do, whereto I strive. 
The dread that my old love may be alive 
Has seized my nursling new love by the throat. 



MODERN LOVE 221 



XLI 

How many a thing which we cast to the ground, 
When others pick it up becomes a gem ! 
We grasp at all the wealth it is to them ; 
And by reflected light its worth is found. 
Yet for us still 'tis nothing ! and that zeal 
Of false appreciation quickly fades. 
This truth is little known to human shades, 
How rare from their own instinct 'tis to feel ! 
They waste the soul with spurious desire. 
That is not the ripe flame upon the bough. 
We two have taken up a lifeless vow 
To rob a living passion : dust for fire ! 
Madam is grave, and eyes the clock that tells 
Approaching midnight. We have struck despair 
Into two hearts. O, look we like a pair 
Who for fresh nuptials joyfully yield all else? 



222 POEMS 



XLII 

I am to follow her. There is much grace 
In woman when thus bent on martyrdom. 
They think that dignity of soul may come, 
Perchance, with dignity of body. Base ! 
But I was taken by that air of cold 
And statuesque sedateness, when she said 
' I 'm going ' ; lit a taper, bowed her head. 
And went, as with the stride of Pallas bold. 
Fleshly indifference horrible ! The hands 
Of Time now signal : 0, she 's safe from me ! 
Within those secret walls what do I see ? 
Where first she set the taper down she stands : 
Not Pallas : Hebe shamed ! Thoughts black as 

death 
Like a stirred pool in sunshine break. Her wrists 
I catch : she faltering, as she half resists, 
' You love . . . ? love . . . ? love . . . ? ' all on 

an indrawn breath. 



MODERN LOVE 223 



XLIII 

Mark where the pressing wind shoots javelin-like 
Its skeleton shadow on the broad-backed wave ! 
Here is a fitting spot to dig Love's grave ; 
Here where the ponderous breakers plunge and 

strike, 
And dart their hissing tongues high up the sand : 
In hearing of the ocean, and in sight 
Of those ribbed wind-streaks running into white. 
If I the death of Love had deeply planned, 
I never could have made it half so sure. 
As by the imblest kisses which upbraid 
The full-waked sense ; or failing that, degrade ! 
'Tis morning : but no morning can restore 
What we have forfeited. I see no sin : 
The wrong is mixed. In tragic life, God wot, 
No villain need be ! Passions spin the plot : 
We are betrayed by what is false within. 



224 POEMS 



They say, that Pity in Love's service dwells, 
A porter at the rosy temple's gate. 
I missed him going : but it is my fate 
To come upon him now beside his wells ; 
Whereby I know that I Love's temple leave, 
And that the purple doors have closed behind. 
Poor soul ! if, in those early days unkind, 
Thy power to sting had been but power to grieve, 
We now might with an equal spirit meet, 
And not be matched like innocence and vice. 
She for the Temple's worship has paid price, 
And takes the coin of Pity as a cheat. 
She sees through simulation to the bone : 
What 's best in her impels her to the worst : 
Never, she cries, shall Pity soothe Love's thirst, 
Or foul hypocrisy for truth atone I 



MODERN LOVE 225 



XLV 

It is the season of the sweet wild rose, 

My Lady's emblem in the heart of me ! 

So golden-crowned shines she gloriously, 

And with that softest dream of blood she glows : 

MUd as an evening heaven rovmd Hesper bright ! 

I pluck the flower, and smell it, and revive 

The time when in her eyes I stood alive. 

I seem to look upon it out of Night. 

Here 's Madam, stepping hastily. Her whims 

Bid her demand the flower, which I let drop. 

As I proceed, I feel her sharply stop. 

And crush it under heel with trembling limbs. 

She joins me in a cat-like way, and talks 

Of company, and even condescends 

To utter laughing scandal of old friends. 

These are the summer days, and these our walks. 



226 POEMS 



XLVI 

At last we parley : we so strangely dumb 
In such a close communion ! It befell 
About the sounding of the Matin-bell, 
And lo ! her place was vacant, and the hum 
Of loneliness was round me. Then I rose, 
And my disordered brain did guide my foot 
To that old wood where our first love-salute 
Was interchanged : the source of many throes ! 
There did I see her, not alone. I moved 
Toward her, and made proffer of my arm. 
She took it simply, with no rude alarm ; 
And that disturbing shadow passed reproved. 
I felt the pained speech coming, and declared 
My firm belief in her, ere she could speak. 
A ghastly morning came into her cheek. 
While with a widening soul on me she stared. 



MODERN LOVE 227 



XLVII 

We saw the swallows gathering in the sky, 
And in the osier-isle we heard them noise. 
We had not to look back on summer joys, 
Or forward to a summer of bright dye : 
But in the largeness of the evening earth 
Our spirits grew as we went side by side. 
The hour became her husband and my bride. 
Love, that had robbed us so, thus blessed our 

dearth ! 
The pilgrims of the year waxed very loud 
In multitudinous chatterings, as the flood 
Full brown came from the West, and like pale 

blood 
Expanded to the upper crimson cloud. 
Love, that had robbed us of immortal things. 
This little moment mercifully gave, 
Where I have seen across the twilight wave 
The swan sail with her young beneath her wings. 



228 POEMS 



XLVIII 

Their sense is with their senses all mixed in, 

Destroyed by subtleties these women are ! 

More brain, Lord, more brain ! or we shall mar 

Utterly this fair garden we might win. 

Behold ! I looked for peace, and thought it near. 

Our inmost hearts had opened, each to each. 

We drank the pure daylight of honest speech. 

Alas ! that was the fatal draught, I fear. 

For when of my lost Lady came the word, 

This woman, O this agony of flesh ! 

Jealous devotion bade her break the mesh. 

That I might seek that other like a bird. 

I do adore the nobleness ! despise 

The act ! She has gone forth, I know not where. 

WUl the hard world my sentience of her share ? 

I feel the truth ; so let the world surmise. 



MODERN LOVE 229 



XLIX 

He found her by the ocean's moaning verge, 
Nor any wicked change in her discerned ; 
And she believed his old love had returned, 
Which was her exultation, and her scourge. 
She took his hand, and walked with him, and 

seemed 
The wife he sought, though shadow-like and dry. 
She had one terror, lest her heart should sigh, 
And tell her loudly she no longer dreamed. 
She dared not say, ' This is my breast : look in.' 
But there 's a strength to help the desperate weak. 
That night he learned how silence best can speak 
The awful things when Pity pleads for Sin. 
About the middle of the night her call 
Was heard, and he came wondering to the bed. 
' Now kiss me, dear ! it may be, now ! ' she said. 
Lethe had passed those lips, and he knew all. 



230 POEMS 



Thus piteously Love closed what he begat : 
The union of this ever-diverse pair ! 
These two were rapid falcons in a snare, 
Condemned to do the flitting of the bat. 
Lovers beneath the singing sky of May, 
They wandered once; clear as the dew on flowers: 
But they fed not on the advancing hours : 
Their hearts held cravings for the buried day. 
Then each applied to each that fatal knife, 
Deep questioning, which probes to endless dole. 
Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul 
When hot for certainties in this our life ! — 
In tragic hints here see what evermore 
Moves dark as yonder midnight ocean's force. 
Thundering like ramping hosts of warrior horse, 
To throw that faint thin line upon the shore ! 



THE PATRIOT ENGINEER 231 



THE PATRIOT ENGINEER 

'SiES ! may I shake your hands? 

My countrymen, I see ! 
I 've lived in foreign lands 
Till England 's Heaven to me. 
A hearty shake will do me good, 
And freshen up my sluggish blood.' 

Into his hard right hand we struck, 
Gave the shake, and wish'd him luck. 

* — From Austria I come, 
An English wife to win, 
And find an English home. 
And live and die therein. 
Great Lord ! how many a year I 've pined 
To drink old ale and speak my mind ! ' 

Loud rang our laughter, and the shout 
Hills round the Meuse-boat echoed about. 

' — ^Ay, no offence : laugh on, 

Young gentlemen : I '11 join. 
Had you to exUe gone, 
Where free speech is base coin, 
You 'd sigh to see the jolly nose 
Where Freedom's native liquor flows ! ' 

He this time the laughter led, 
Dabbling his oily bullet head. 



232 POEMS 

' — Give me, to suit my moods, 

An ale-house on a heath, 
I '11 hand the crags and woods 
To B'elzebub beneath. 
A fig for scenery ! what scene 
Can beat a Jackass on a green ? ' 

Gravely he seem'd, with gaze intense, 
Putting the question to common sense. 

' — ^Why, there 's the ale-house bench ; 

The furze-flower shining round : 
And there 's my waiting-wench. 
As lissome as a hound. 
With " hail Britannia ! " ere I drink, 
I '11 kiss her with an artful wink.' 

Fair flash'd the foreign landscape while 
We breath'd again our native Isle. 

' — ^The geese may swim hard-by ; 

They gabble, and you talk : 
You 're sure there 's not a spy 
To mark your name with chalk. 
My heart 's an oak, and it won't grow 
In flower-pots, foreigners must know.' 



1 1 1 • 



THE PATRIOT ENGINEER 233 

'Nine gallant gentlemen 

In Arad they strung up ! 
I work'd in peace till then : — 
That poison'd all my cup. 
A smell of corpses haunted me : 
My nostril sniff'd like life for sea. 

' Take money for my hire 

From butchers ? — not the man ! 
I 've got some natural fire, 
And don't flash in the pan ; — 
A few ideas I reveal'd : — 
'Twas well old England stood my shield I 

'Said I, "The Lord of Hosts 
Have mercy on your land ! 
I see those dangling ghosts, — 
And you may keep command, 
And hang, and shoot, and have your day : 
They hold your bill, and you must pay. 

'"You 've sent them where they 're strong. 

You carrion Double-Head ! 
I hear them sound a gong 
In Heaven above ! " — I said. 
" My God, what feathers won't you moult 
For this ! " says I : and then I bolt. 



'The Bird 's a beastly Bird, 
And what is more, a fool. 
I shake hands with the herd 
That flock beneath his rule. 
They 're kindly ; and their land is fine. 
I thought it rarer once than mine. 



234 POEMS 

'And rare would be its lot, 

But that he baulks its powers : 
It 's just an earthen pot 
For hearts of oak like ours. 
Think ! Think ! — four days from those frontiers, 
And I 'm a-head full fifty years. 

' It tingles to your scalps. 

To think of it, my boys ! 
Confusion on their Alps, 
And all their baby toys ! 
The mountains Britain boasts are men : 
And scale you them, my brethren ! ' 

Cluck, went his tongue ; his fingers, snap. 
Britons were proved all heights to cap. 

And we who worshipp'd crags. 

Where purple splendours burn'd, 
Our idol saw in rags. 
And right about were turn'd. 
Horizons rich with trembling spires 
On violet twilights lost their fires. 

And heights where morning wakes 
With one cheek over snow ;— 



THE PATRIOT ENGINEER 235 

Fair dreams of our enchanted life 
Fled fast from his shrill island fife. 

And yet we liked him well ; 

We laugh'd with honest hearts : — 
He shock'd some inner spell, 
And rous'd discordant parts. 
We echoed what we half abjured : 
And hating, smilingly endured. 

Moreover, could we be 

To our dear land disloyal ? 
And were not also we 

Of History's blood-Royal? 
We glow'd to think how donkeys graze 
In England, thrilling at their brays. 

For there a man may view 
An aspect more sublime 
Than Alps against the blue : — 
The morning eyes of Time ! 
The very Ass participates 
The glory Freedom radiates ! 



236 POEMS 



CASSANDRA 



Captive on a foreign shore, 
Far from Ilion's hoary wave, 
Agamemnon's bridal slave 
Speaks Futurity no more : 
Death is busy with her grave. 

II 

Thick as water, bursts remote 
Round her ears the alien din. 
While her little sullen chin 
Fills the hollows of her throat : 
SUent lie her slaughter'd kin. 

Ill 
Once to many a pealing shriek, 
Lo, from Ilion's topmost tower, 
Ilion's fierce prophetic flower 



CASSANDRA 237 



Chieftains, brethren of her joy, 
Shades, the white hght in their eyes 
Slanting to her hps, arise, 
Crowding quick the plains of Troy : 
Now they tell her not she lies. 

VI 

O the bliss upon the plains. 
Where the joining heroes clashed 
Shield and spear, and, unabashed, 
Challenged with hot chariot-reins 
Gods ! — they glimmer ocean-washed. 

VII 

Alien voices round the ships. 
Thick as water, shouting Home. 
Argives, pale as midnight foam, 
Wax before her awful lips : 
White as stars that front the gloom. 

VIII 

Like a torch-flame that by day 
Up the daylight twists, and, pale, 
Catches air in leaps that fail. 
Crushed by the inveterate ray, 
Through her shines the Ten- Years' Tale. 

rx 
Once to many a pealing shriek, 
Lo, from Ilion's topmost tower, 
Ilion's fierce prophetic flower 
Cried the coming of the Greek ! 
Black in Hades sits the hour. 



238 POEMS 



X 

Still upon her sunless soul 
Gleams the narrow hidden space 
Forward, where her fiery race 
Falters on its ashen goal : 
StUl the Future strikes her face. 

XI 

See toward the conqueror's car 
Step the purple Queen whose hate 
Wraps red-armed her royal mate 
With his Asian tempest-star : 
Now Cassandra views her Fate. 

XII 

King of men ! the blinded host 
Shout : — she lifts her brooding chin : 
Glad along the joyous din 
Smiles the grand majestic ghost : 
Clytemnestra leads him in. 

XIII 

Lo, their smoky limbs aloof, 
Shadowing heaven and the seas. 
Fates and Furies, tangling Threes, 



CASSANDRA 239 

XV 

Like the snaky torch-flame white, 
Levelled as aloft it twists, 
She, her soaring arms, and wrists 
Drooping, struggles with the light, 
Helios, bright above all mists ! 

XVI 

In his orb she sees the tower. 
Dusk against its flaming rims. 
Where of old her wretched limbs 
Twisted with the stolen power : 
Ilium all the lustre dims ! 

XVII 

O the bliss upon the plains, 
Where the joining heroes clashed 
Shield and spear, and, unabashed. 
Challenged with hot chariot-reins 
Gods ! — they glimmer ocean-washed. 

XVIII 

Thrice the Sun-God's name she calls ; 
Shrieks the deed that shames the sky ; 
Like a fountain leaping high. 
Falling as a fountain falls : 
Lo, the blazing wheels go by ! 

XIX 

Captive on a foreign shore, 
Far from Ilion's hoary wave, 
Agamemnon's bridal slave 
Speaks Futurity no more : 
Death is busy with her grave. 



240 POEMS 



THE YOUNG USURPER 

On my darling's bosom 
Has dropped a living rosy bud, 
Fair as brilliant Hesper 
Against the brimming flood. 
She handles him, 
She dandles him, 
She fondles him and eyes him : 
And if upon a tear he wakes. 

With many a kiss she dries him : 
She covets every move he makes. 
And never enough can prize him. 
Ah, the young Usurper ! 
I yield my golden throne : 
Such angel bands attend his hands 
To claim it for his own. 



MARGARET'S BRIDAL EVE 241 



MARGARET'S BRIDAL EVE 



The old grey mother she thrummed on her knee : 

There is a rose that 's ready ; 
And which of the handsome young men shall it be ? 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

My daughter, come hither, come hither to me : 

There is a rose that 's ready ; 
Come, point me your finger on him that you see : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

O mother, my mother, it never can be : 

There is a rose that 's ready ; 
Tot 1 shall bring shame on the man marries me : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

Now let your tongue be deep as the sea : 

There is a rose that 's ready ; 
And the man '11 jump for you, right briskly will he : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

Tall Margaret wept bitterly : 

There is a rose that 's ready ; 
And as her parent bade did she : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

O the handsome young man dropped down on his knee : 

There is a rose that 's ready ; 
Pale Margaret gave him her hand, woe 's me ! 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 



242 POEMS 

II 
mother, my mother, this thing I must say . 

There is a rose in the garden; 
Ere he lies on the breast where that other lay : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

Now, folly, my daughter, for men are men : 
There is a rose in the garden; 

You marry them bUndf old, I tell you again : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

mother, but when he kisses me ! 

There is a rose in the garden; 
My child, 'tis which shall sweetest be ! 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

mother, but when I awake in the morn ! 

There is a rose in the garden; 
My child, you are his, and the ring is worn : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

Tall Margaret sighed and loosened a tress : 
There is a rose in the garden; 

Poor comfort she had of her comeliness : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 



MARGARET'S BRIDAL EVE 243 

But when I came by my father's door : 

There is a rose in the garden; 
I fell in a lump on the stiff dead floor : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

neither to heaven, nor yet to hell : 

There is a rose in the garden; 
Could I follow the lover I loved so well I 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

Ill 
The bridesmaids slept in their chambers apart : 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Tall Margaret walked with her thumping heart : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

The frill of her nightgown below the left breast : 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Had fall'n like a cloud of the moonlighted West : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

But where the West-cloud breaks to a star : 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Pale Margaret's breast showed a winding scar : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

few are the brides with such a sign ! 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Though I went mad the fault was mine : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

_ must speak to him under this roof to-night : 
There is a rose that 's ready; 

1 shall burn to death if I speak in the light : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 



244 POEMS 

my breast ! I must strike you a bloodier wound : 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Than when I scored you red and swooned : 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

1 will stab my honour under his eye : 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Though I bleed to the death, I shall let out the lie : 
There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

O happy my bridesmaids ! white sleep is with you ! 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
Had he chosen among you he might sleep too ! 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

O happy my bridesmaids ! your breasts are clean : 

There is a rose that 's ready; 
You carry no mark of what has been ! 

There 's a rose that 's ready for clipping. 

IV 

An hour before the chilly beam : 

Red rose and white in the garden; 

The bridegroom started out of a dream : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 



MARGARET'S BRIDAL EVE 245 

She looked so white, she looked so sweet : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

She looked so pure he fell at her feet : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

He fell at her feet with love and awe : 

Red rose and white in the garden; 

A stainless body of light he saw : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

Margaret, say you are not of the dead ! 

Red rose and white in the garden; 
My bride ! by the angels at night are you led ? 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

1 am not led by the angels about : 

Red rose and white in the garden; 
But I have a devil within to let out : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

Margaret ! my bride and saint ! 

Red rose and white in the garden; 
There is on you no earthly taint : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

1 am no saint, and no bride can I be : 

Red rose and white in the garden; 
Until I have opened my bosom to thee : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

To catch at her heart she laid one hand : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

She told the tale where she did stand : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 



246 POEMS 

She stood before him pale and tall : 

Red rose and white in the garden; 

Her eyes between his, she told him all : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

She saw how her body grew freckled and foul : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

She heard from the woods the hooting owl : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

With never a quiver her mouth did speak : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

when she had done she stood so meek ! 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

The bridegroom stamped and called her vile : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

He did but waken a little smile : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

The bridegroom raged and called her foul : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

She heard from the woods the hooting owl : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 



MARGARET'S BRIDAL EVE 247 

The old grey. mother she dressed the bier : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

With a shivering chin and never a tear : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

O had you but done as I bade you, my child ! 

Red rose and white in the garden; 
You would not have died and been reviled : 

And the bird sings over the roses. 

The bridegroom he hung at midnight by the bier : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

He eyed the white girl thro' a dazzling tear : 
And the bird sings over the roses. 

O had you been false as the women who stray : 
Red rose and white in the garden; 

You would not be now with the Angels of Day ! 
And the bird sings over the roses. 



248 POEMS 



MARIAN 

I 
She can be as wise as we, 

And wiser when she wishes ; 
She can knit with cunning wit, 

And dress the homely dishes. 
She can flourish staff or pen, 

And deal a wound that lingers ; 
She can talk the talk of men. 

And touch with thrilling fingers. 

II 

Match her ye across the sea, 

Natures fond and fiery ; 
Ye who zest the turtle's nest 

With the eagle's eyrie. 
Soft and loving is her soul. 

Swift and lofty soaring ; 
Mixing with its dove-like dole 

Passionate adoring. 



UNKNOWN FAIR FACES 249 



BY MORNING TWILIGHT 

Night, like a dying mother, 
Eyes her young offspring, Day. 
The birds are dreamily piping. 
And 0, my love, my darling ! 
The night is life ebb'd away : 
Away beyond our reach ! 
A sea that has cast us pale on the beach ; 

Weeds with the weeds and the pebbles 
That hear the lone tamarisk rooted in sand 

Sway 
With the song of the sea to the land. 



UNKNOWN FAIR FACES 

Though I am faithful to my loves lived through, 
And place them among Memory's great stars, 
Where bums a face like Hesper : one like Mars : 
Of visages I get a moment's view. 
Sweet eyes that in the heaven of me, too. 
Ascend, tho' virgin to my life they passed. 
Lo, these within my destiny seem glassed 
At times so bright, I wish that hope were new. 
A gracious freckled lady, tall and grave. 
Went, in a shawl voluminous and white. 
Last sunset by ; and going sow'd a glance. 
Earth is too poor to hold a second chance ; 
I will not ask for more than Fortune gave : 
My heart she goes from — never from my sight ! 



250 POEMS 



SHEMSELNIHAR 

O MY lover ! the night like a broad smooth wave 

Bears us onward, and morn, a black rock, shines wet. 

How I shuddered — I knew not that I was a slave, 

Till I looked on thy face : — then I writhed in the net. 

Then I felt like a thing caught by fire, that her star 

Glowed dark on the bosom of Shemselnihar. 

And he came, whose I am : my lover ! he came : 
And his slave, still so envied of women, was I : 

And I turned as a hissing leaf spits from the flame, 

Yes, I shrivelled to dust from him, haggard and dry. 

O forgive her : — she was but as dead lilies are : 

The life of her heart fled from Shemselnihar. 

Yet with thee like a full throbbing rose how I bloom ! 

Like a rose by the fountain whose showering we hear, 
As we lie, my lover ! in this rich gloom, 

Smelling faint the cool breath of the lemon-groves 
near. 



SHEMSELNIHAR 251 

Far away, far away, where the wandering scents 

Of all flowers are sweetest, white mountains among, 

There my kindred abide in their green and blue tents : 
Bear me to them, my lover ! they lost me so young. 

Let us slip down the stream and leap steed till afar 

None question thy claim upon Shemselnihar. 

that long note the bulbul gave out — meaning love ! 

my lover, hark to him and think it my voice ! 
The blue night like a great bell-flower from above 

Drooping low and gold-eyed : 0, but hear him rejoice ! 
Can it be ? 'twas a flash ! that accurst scimitar 
In thought even cuts thee from Shemselnihar. 

Yes, I would that, less generous, he would oppress. 

He would chain me, upbraid me, burn deep brands for 
hate. 

Than with this mask of freedom and gorgeousness 
Bespangle my slavery, mock my strange fate. 

Would, would, would, my lover, he knew — dared debar 

Thy coming, and earn curse of Shemselnihar ! 



252 POEMS 

A ROAR THROUGH THE TALL TWIN ELM-TREES 

A ROAB thro' the tall twin elm-trees 
The mustering storm betrayed : 

The South-wind seized the willow 
That over the water swayed. 

Then fell the steady deluge 

In which I strove to doze, 
Hearing all night at my window 

The knock of the winter rose. 

The rainy rose of winter ! 

An outcast it must pine. 
And from thy bosom outcast 

Am I, dear lady mine. 



WHEN I WOULD IMAGE 

When I would image her features, 
Comes up a shrouded head : 

I touch the outlines, shrinking ; 

She seems of the wandering dead. 



THE SPIRIT OF SHAKESPEARE 253 

THE SPIRIT OF SHAKESPEARE 

Thy greatest knew thee, Mother Earth ; unsoured 
He knew thy sons. He probed from hell to hell 
Of human passions, but of love deflowered 
His wisdom was not, for he knew thee well. 
Thence came the honeyed corner at his lips, 
The conquering smile wherein his spirit sails 
Calm as the God who the white sea-wave whips, 
Yet full of speech and intershifting tales. 
Close mirrors of us : thence had he the laugh 
We feel is thine : broad as ten thousand beeves 
At pasture ! thence thy songs, that winnow chaff 
From grain, bid sick Philosophy's last leaves 
Whirl, if they have no response — they enforced 
To fatten Earth when from her soul divorced. 



CONTINUED 

How smiles he at a generation ranked 
In gloomy noddings over life! They pass. 
Not he to feed upon a breast unthanked, 
Or eye a beauteous face in a cracked glass. 
But he can spy that little twist of brain 
Which moved some weighty leader of the blind, 
Unwitting 'twas the goad of personal pain, 
To view in curst eclipse our Mother's mind, 
And show us of some rigid harridan 
The wretched bondmen till the end of time. 
O lived the Master now to paint us Man, 
That little twist of brain would ring a chime 
Of whence it came and what it caused, to start 
Thunders of laughter, clearing air and heart. 



254 POEMS 



ODE TO THE SPIRIT OF EARTH IN AUTUMN 

Fair Mother Earth lay on her back last night, 

To gaze her fill on Autumn's sunset skies, 

When at a waving of the fallen light 

Sprang realms of rosy fruitage o'er her eyes. 

A lustrous heavenly orchard hung the West, 

Wherein the blood of Eden bloomed again : 

Red were the myriad cherub-mouths that pressed, 

Among the clusters, rich with song, full fain. 

But dumb, because that overmastering spell 

Of rapture held them dumb : then, here and there, 

A golden harp lost strings; a crimson shell 

Burnt grey; and sheaves of lustre fell to air. 

The illimitable eagerness of hue 

Bronzed, and the beamy winged bloom that flew 

'Mid those bunched fruits and thronging figures failed. 

A green-edged lake of saffron touched the blue. 

With isles of fireless purple lying through : 

And Fancy on that lake to seek lost treasures sailed. 

Not long the silence followed : 



ODE TO THE SPIRIT OF EARTH IN AUTUMN 255 

Of revel-gathering spirits ; trooping down, 
Some rode the tree-tops; some on torn cloud- 
strips 
Burst screaming thro' the lighted town : 
And scudding seaward, some fell on big ships : 
Or mounting the sea-horses blew 
Bright foam-flakes on the black review 
Of heaving hulls and burying beaks. 

Still on the farthest line, with outpuffed cheeks, 
'Twixt dark and utter dark, the great wind drew 
From heaven that disenchanted harmony 
To join earth's laughter in the midnight blind : 
Booming a distant chorus to the shrieks 

Preluding him : then he, 
His mantle streaming thunderingly behind. 
Across the yellow realm of stiffened Day, 
Shot thro' the woodland alleys signals three ; 

And with the pressure of a sea 
Plunged broad upon the vale that under lay. 

Night on the rolling foliage fell : 
But I, who love old hymning night. 
And know the Dryad voices well, 
Discerned them as their leaves took flight, 
Like souls to wander after death : 
Great armies in imperial dyes. 
And mad to tread the air and rise, 
The savage freedom of the skies 
To taste before they rot. And here, 
Like frail white-bodied girls in fear. 
The birches swung from shrieks to sighs ; 
The aspens, laughers at a breath, 
In showering spray-falls mixed their cries, 
Or raked a savage ocean-strand 



256 POEMS 

With one incessant drowning screech. 
Here stood a sohtary beech, 
That gave its gold with open hand, 
And all its branches, toning chill. 
Did seem to shut their teeth right fast, 
To shriek more mercilessly shrill. 
And match the fierceness of the blast. 

But heard I a low swell that noised 
Of far-off ocean, I was 'ware 
Of pines upon their wide roots poised, 
Whom never madness in the air 
Can draw to more than loftier stress 
Of mournfulness, not mournfulness 
For melancholy, but Joy's excess, 
That singing on the lap of sorrow faints : 
And Peace, as in the hearts of saints 
Who chant unto the Lord their God ; 
Deep Peace below upon the muffled sod. 
The stillness of the sea's unswaying floor. 
Could I be sole there not to see 
The life within the life awake ; 
The spirit bursting from the tree. 
And rising from the troubled lake ? 
Pour, let the wines of Heaven pour ! 
The Golden Harp is struck once more, 
And all its music is for me ! 



ODE TO THE SPIRIT OF EARTH IN AUTUMN 257 

Can she be dead, or rooted in pain? 
She has been slain by the narrow brain, 
But for us who love her she lives again. 
Can she die? O, take her kiss! 

The crimson-footed nymph is panting up the glade, 
With the wine-jar at her arm-pit, and the drunken ivy-braid 
Round her forehead, breasts, and thighs : starts a Satyr, 

and they speed : 
Hear the crushing of the leaves : hear the cracking of the 

bough! 
And the whistling of the bramble, the piping of the weed ! 

But the bull-voiced oak is battling now : 
The storm has seized him half-asleep. 
And round him the wild woodland throngs 
To hear the fury of his songs, 
The uproar of an outraged deep. 
He wakes to find a wrestling giant 
Trunk to trunk and limb to limb. 
And on his rooted force reliant 
He laughs and grasps the broadened giant, ^ 

And twist and roll the Anakim ; 
And multitudes, acclaiming to the cloud. 
Cry which is breaking, which is bowed. 

Away, for the cymbals clash aloft 
In the circles of pine, on the moss-floor soft. 
The nymphs of the woodland are gathering there. 
They huddle the leaves, and trample, and toss ; 
They swing in the branches, they roll in the moss. 

They blow the seed on the air. 
Back to back they stand and blow 
The winged seed on the cradling air, 
A fountain of leaves over bosom and back. 



258 POEMS 

The pipe of the Faun comes on their track, 
And the weltering alleys overflow 
With musical shrieks and wind-wedded hair. 
The riotous companies melt to a pair. 
Bless them, mother of kindness! 

A star has nodded through 
The depths of the flying blue. 
Time only to plant the light 
Of a memory in the blindness. 
But time to show me the sight 
Of my life thro' the curtain of night ; 
Shining a moment, and mixed 
With the onward-hurrying stream, 
Whose pressure is darkness to me ; 
Behind the curtain, fixed. 
Beams with endless beam 
That star on the changing sea. 

Great Mother Nature ! teach me, like thee. 
To kiss the season and shun regrets. 
And am I more than the mother who bore, 
Mock me not with thy harmony ! 
Teach me to blot regrets, 
Great Mother ! me inspire 
With faith that forward sets 



ODE TO THE SPIRIT OF EARTH IN AUTUMN 259 

And 0, green bounteous Earth ! 
Bacchante Mother ! stern to those 
Who live not in thy heart of mirth ; 
Death shall I shrink from, loving thee? 
Into the breast that gives the rose, 

Shall I with shuddering fall ? 

Earth, the mother of all, 
Moves on her stedfast way, 
Gathering, flinging, sowing. 
Mortals, we live in her day, 
She in her children is growing. 

She can lead us, only she. 

Unto God's footstool, whither she reaches : 

Loved, enjoyed, her gifts must be, 

Reverenced the truths she teaches, 

Ere a man may hope that he 

Ever can attain the glee 

Of things without a destiny ! 

She knows not loss : 
She feels but her need, 
Who the winged seed 
With the leaf doth toss. 

And may not men to this attain? 

That the joy of motion, the rapture of being, 

Shall throw strong light when our season is 

fleeing. 
Nor quicken aged blood in vain, 
At the gates of the vault, on the verge of 

the plain? 
Life thoroughly lived is a fact in the brain, 

While eyes are left for seeing. 



260 POEMS 

Behold, in yon stripped Autumn, shivering grey, 
Earth knows no desolation. 
She smells regeneration 
In the moist breath of decay. 

Prophetic of the coming joy and strife. 

Like the wild western war-chief sinking 
Calm to the end he eyes unblinking, 

Her voice is jubilant in ebbing life. 

He for his happy hunting-fields 
Forgets the droning chant, and yields 
His numbered breaths to exultation 
In the proud anticipation : 
Shouting the glories of his nation, 
Shouting the grandeur of his race, 
Shouting his own great deeds of daring : 
And when at last death grasps his face, 
And stiffened on the ground in peace 

He lies with all his painted terrors glaring ; 

Hushed are the tribe to hear a threading cry : 
Not from the dead man ; 
Not from the standers-by : 
The spirit of the red man 

Is welcomed by his fathers up on high. 



MARTIN'S PUZZLE 261 



MARTIN'S PUZZLE 

I 
There she goes up the street with her book in her hand, 

And her Good morning, Martin ! Ay, lass, how d' ye 
do? 
Very well, thank you, Martin ! — I can't understand ! 

I might just as well never have cobbled a shoe ! 
I can't understand it. She talks like a song ; 

Her voice takes your ear like the ring of a glass ; 
She seems to give gladness while limping along, 

Yet sinner ne'er suffer'd like that little lass. 

II 
First, a fool of a boy ran her down with a cart. 

Then, her fool of a father — a blacksmith by trade — 
Why the deuce does he tell us it half broke his heart ? 

His heart ! — where 's the leg of the poor little maid ! 
Well, that 's not enough ; they must push her down- 
stairs, 

To make her go crooked : but why count the list ? 
If it 's right to suppose that our human affairs 

Are all order'd by heaven — there, bang goes my fist ! 

ni 

For if angels can look on such sights — ^never mind ! 

When you 're next to blaspheming, it 's best to be 
mum. 
The parson declares that her woes weren't designed ; 

But, then, with the parson it 's all kingdom-come. 



262 POEMS 

Lose a leg, save a soul — a convenient text ; 

I call it Tea doctrine, not savouring of God. 
When poor little Molly wants ' chastening,' why, next 

The Archangel Michael might taste of the rod. 

IV 

But, to see the poor darling go limping for miles 

To read books to sick people ! — and just of an age 
When girls learn the meaning of ribands and smiles ! 

Makes me feel like a squirrel that turns in a cage. 
The more I push thinking the more I revolve : 

I never get farther : — and as to her face. 
It starts up when near on my puzzle I solve, 

And says, 'This crush'd body seems such a sad case.' 

V 

Not that she 's for complaining : she reads to earn 
pence ; 

And from those who can't pay, simple thanks are 
enough. 
Does she leave lamentation for chaps without sense? 

Howsoever, she 's made up of wonderful stuff. 
Ay, the soul in her body must be a stout cord ; 

She sings little hymns at the close of the day. 
Though she has but three fingers to lift to the Lord, 

And only one leg to kneel down with to pray. 

VI 

What I ask is, Why persecute such a poor dear, 
If there 's Law above all ? Answer that if you 
can! 
Irreligious I 'm not ; but I look on this sphere 
As a place where a man should just think like a 
man. 



MARTIN'S PUZZLE 263 

It isn't fair dealing ! But, contrariwise, 

Do bullets in battle the wicked select ? 
Why, then it 's all chance-work ! And yet, in her eyes, 

She holds a fixed something by which I am checked. 

VII 

Yonder riband of sunshine aslope on the wall, 

If you eye it a minute '11 have the same look : 
So kind ! and so merciful ! God of us all ! 

It 's the very same lesson we get from the Book. 
Then, is Life but a trial ? Is that what is meant ? 

Some must toil, and some perish, for others below : 
The injustice to each spreads a common content ; 

Ay ! I 've lost it again, for it can't be quite so. 

VIII 

She 's the victim of fools : that seems nearer the mark. 

On earth there are engines and numerous fools. 
Why the Lord can permit them, we 're still in the dark ; 

He does, and in some sort of way they 're His tools. 
It 's a roundabout way, with respect let me add. 

If Molly goes crippled that we may be taught : 
But, perhaps, it 's the only way, though it 's so bad ; 

In that case we '11 bow down our heads, — as we ought. 

IX 

But the worst of me is, that when I bow my head, 

I perceive a thought wriggling away in the dust. 
And I follow its tracks, quite forgetful, instead 

Of humble acceptance : for, question I must ! 
Here 's a creature made carefully — carefully made ! 

Put together with craft, and then stamped on, and why ? 
The answer seems nowhere : it 's discord that 's played. 

The sky 's a blue dish ! — an implacable sky ! 



264 POEMS 

X 

Stop a moment : I seize an idea from the pit. 

They tell us that discord, though discord, alone, 
Can be harmony when the notes properly fit : 

Am I judging all things from a single false tone? 
Is the Universe one immense Organ, that rolls 

From devils to angels ? I 'm blind with the sight 
It pours such a splendour on heaps of poor souls ! 

I might try at kneeling with Molly to-night.